Hi there, beautiful people, let’s talk about the future and possible treats to journalism. Yes, I know you’d rather be watching the Kardashians or Facebook stalking your ex (ahem), but for those of us who actually want to pursue careers in the literary and journalistic fields, this is actually kind of a doozy.
We tell stories, bring tyrants to justice and expose the hypocrisy of those in power. Who are we? We are the writers, the journalists, and more often than not, we give a voice to those without one. But what happens when someone or something does our jobs better than we can? The advent of Robo or ‘Robot’ Journalism, in particular has really put us in a pickle.
This is no joke people, the machines are replacing us! I guess Will Smith was right to be weary of these technological beasts.
Robo journalism, is a process that involves computers compiling data into the form of a story based on pre-programmed algorithms, and then publishing these stories online for people to read. This is according to Michael Salzwedel, whose entire article can be found here . Here’s the kicker: this entire process requires absolutely no help from us! We have become as redundant as a fridge in Antarctica.
A simple example of Robo Journalism can be seen with Quakebot, which is a computer programme collecting data from earthquakes and publishing the information online into the form of news articles. Only yesterday Quakebot published a story about an earthquake that occurred near California
The emergence of Robo Journalism has also caused the retrenchment of many expert journalists. The media industry no longer simply needs journalists who are good writers, but pioneering, multi-skilled media workers. In other words: EVOLVE!
As young aspiring writers and journalists, we have to be flexible and willing to teach ourselves new skills. Learning to take good, publishable photographs, sub-editing our own work and being innovative with online media platforms are just a few ways to make ourselves indispensable in the newsroom.
Another possible threat to our jobs is citizen journalism, which involves regular members of society providing stories, tip-offs, pictures and the like to newsrooms, which can then be published as news.
With the growth of online and social media, members of the public can send in photographs and videos immediately after an event has taken place, contributing to the overall news cycle.
Does this mean that my BA or Journalism degree is all for nought?
Calm down people! The members of the public merely provide information-and not necessarily facts-which then enables journalists to further investigate the issue at hand. Citizens are also not taken to task when they provide false statements, meaning that reporters still need to verify the accuracy and newsworthiness of any information that they supply.
The citizens can also take journalists to task when they have been lax in their reporting, particularly with many online news organisations providing a ‘comments’ section on their news sites.
An example of citizen journalism can be seen when a Twitter user posted pictures of the Ferguson incident immediately after the occurence.
The art of journalism is not dead. As long as there are honest, ethical reporters out there willing to tell the truth in an objective and honest way, by God we will survive!