Technology Has Power to Bring Struggling Journalism Back to Life

Path1Journalism faces a challenge.

Legacy news media resembles TMZ and is fodder for satire.

“The Daily Show” has more respect than nightly news programs on broadcast networks.

The free press is growing less free daily.

These are alarming signs. They affect everyone, yet the masses don’t seem to care. Apathy is dangerous. Nonthinking can lead to censorship and worse. Journalism has passed its tipping point and is devolving.

Technology — specifically mobile technology — can get people to care again.

Technology has a long history of disrupting journalism. Look at the printing press, radio, television and Internet. If you have a few minutes (or 10,000), check out Riptide, the Nieman Lab’s comprehensive oral history of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology since 1980. Some technological changes have benefitted journalism. Others have set the industry back.

We are experiencing a major setback right now. That is why journalism is ripe for disruption and a new business model. The current model doesn’t work. The irony is technology broke it.

The Internet, for all its positive impact, corrupted the business model of traditional journalism. Driving up clicks, page views, followers and fans — numbers — to increase advertising revenue has become all that matters for many news organizations. Mindless content outnumbers meaningful stories. Media outlets have forgotten the mission of journalism is to provide quality information to the public.

A robust, mobile-first publishing platform optimized for real-time news reporting – a platform that streamlines live content production, delivery and consumption — is a solution. We are entering an age of ultraconnectedness, where 3-D printing is common, reality is experiential and mobile devices are lighter, stronger and smarter.

Journalism needs new means for financial support. Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the Edward Snowden story, believes reader-funded journalism is the future. A mobile-first infrastructure can provide a platform for audiences to participate in the journalism process through citizen reporting and financing.

We need to remember where journalism came from to reinvent journalism. Journalism must become a collaborative and inclusive process for news organizations and audiences. Citizens  are a big part of the transformation. Professionals can teach novices the right way to do things. Veteran journalists need to be willing to teach children journalism fundamentals and best practices and get them excited about current events and news. We need publishing technology that supports all of this.

Moblish provides the platform to transform journalism. The bottom line is important, but not at the expense of quality. Value can be measured by more than just traffic. The rush to be first has overtaken the need to be right. The fast-food mentality has debased journalism. We have become an audience of gluttons, like Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life,” the obese restaurant patron who keeps eating and vomiting until he explodes, and makes all the other guests sick. Journalism is becoming Mr. Creosote. If media organizations don’t slow down and balance speed and volume with accuracy and quality, the whole journalistic system could crumble.

We need citizens to become active participants in the news process to rebuild the journalism business. Instead of consuming 50 quick stories that have all the informational nutrition of a Twinkie, how about giving everyone in the world the infrastructure to contribute quality content for 10 live blogs of substance? How about providing a platform that gives content creators the necessary tools to produce quality journalism? Give users an efficient news product optimized for mobile that they want to engage with for a long time, and they will.

People are hungry for quality content. Some news organizations are betting long form can sell. If it sells, advertisers will be lining up to buy ad space, and the space will be mobile. We need more rich, interactive stories like The New York Times’ Snow Fall and The Guardian’s Firestorm. We need platforms that make producing these types of stories easier for mobile first.

Gone are the days of Edward Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw. We no longer have solitary, trusted journalism voices that report the news. We have trends, search engines, mobile devices, tablets and wearable technologies. We need journalism that serves and supports our digital world, not just for today but for 2020 and beyond. We need to be looking far ahead.

Moblish is prepared. We customize existing technologies (text, video, audio, photo, graphics, maps, data visualization) and make them more efficient. We create new technologies (timelines, verification tools, transcription services). We look for innovative ways to handle common issues (such as bandwidth and network performance) to make the multimedia experience cutting edge, smooth and clean. We ensure we have strong back-end systems on developer servers. We innovate and strive to do what no one else is doing. The user interface and experience is second to none.

We can return to the journalistic, halcyon days of The Washington Post breaking Watergate. Only now, instead of two investigative reporters bringing truth from the shadows, we can have a global village of Carl Bernsteins and Bob Woodwards.

The current journalism model is broken.

Technology has the power to fix it. We need to harness that power to reimagine journalism.

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