Thanks to social media, journalists are no longer the only source of news creation. Social platforms have revolutionised the way global news is delivered and consumed.
More often than not, Twitter will break big events before mainstream news can report it. The public now have a voice. Eye witnesses of significant events record their own account of the event directly through Twitter alongside videos and photos.
Even as far back as April 2013, the tragic news about the Boston Marathon bombing originated from people on the ground at the race’s finish line. They posted images of the explosions moments after the tragedy occurred on Twitter and Facebook.
With this shift in news sources and reporting platforms, it may come as no surprise that the latest set of ABC figures suggest that all paid-for national newsprints lost sales in July*. This is a running theme of what would seem to be an unstoppable downward trend.
Declining newspaper circulation figures tell us that more and more people are switching from print to screen. These days, to quickly catch up on the news many of us will opt to use the internet or head over to social media.
With dwindling newspaper readers, advertisers now also choose to spend their money elsewhere. Most notably, they will choose to spend online where their brand can get served up amongst the latest trending story.
With all this content being generated it does bring into question the future of the role of the traditional journalism. That said, with the rise of ‘fake news’, surely we are safe in the knowledge that the role of the journalism provides a trusted source to verify stories and offer balanced reporting?
The next challenge is the management of the sheer amount of content that’s out there. It seems that here is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) may have a part to play.
The same technology that’s behind Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa as well as “chatbots” which are increasingly taking on customer service roles, are beginning to seep into the world of news and journalism.
UK news agency, Press Association (PA), has just partnered up with news automation specialists Urbs Media – endorsed by €706, 000 Google grant – they will be able to create 30,000 localized news reports every month.
The technology Urbs Media have created uses open data sets on the internet and Natural Language Generation (NLG) software to create high volumes of stories, presumably from verified sources.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out as there are many pros and cons. Undoubtedly this is the future but just how big the role is only time will tell.