25 Big Questions for the Future of Journalism and PR

archivesMinneapolis PR man Arik Hanson recently asked me to suggest a few questions for his night as moderator of #Journchat. That got me thinking about 25 Big Questions for the Future of Journalism and PR (keep reading to see your homework assignment):

  1. Are all newspapers folding? Just some? Which ones? Why them?
  2. Plenty of people say newspapers will never die because people love the feel of newsprint. So if touch is so powerful, why are newspapers closing?
  3. Why don’t newspapers let reporters work from home? Couldn’t they cut costs significantly by firing the building instead of the people?
  4. Many journalists cringe at the Huffington Post biz model (most contributors are not paid for their work). Where does the HuffPo model fit into the future of journalism?
  5. If every newsroom closed its doors for good tomorrow morning, what would you do?
  6. Given what has happened to newspapers in ’08 and ’09, what skills do you wish you had further developed?
  7. Is the blogosphere an adequate substitute for journalism?
  8. Journos: What blogs do you subscribe to?
  9. If social media could help preserve journalism, would you be willing to comment, engage, etc. more openly, even if it raises questions about objectivity and fairness?
  10. Come to think of it, are ideas like objectivity outdated? Where does objectivity fit in a world where social media makes publishing less corporate and more human?
  11. Have you ever received a social media press release? How helpful/useful was it?
  12. Does the decline of newspapers even matter? Could this actually be a blessing in disguise?
  13. Should bloggers adhere to journalistic standards when they publish information, even if they’re not trained journalists?
  14. How does the changing face of journalism change the life of a PR?
  15. Some argue a good pitch trumps a relationship with a reporter. Does the same argument apply w/bloggers, who are more “social”?
  16. How does the current upheaval in the newspaper business create opportunities for smart PRs?
  17. Given declining readerships, shrinking content and dwindling staffs, which is more important for PR: Pitching to traditional journalists or pitching to bloggers? Why?
  18. Are bloggers an effective enough government watchdog? An effective enough corporate watchdog?
  19. Will the blogosphere adhere to the same standards of objectivity, fairness and truth as traditional journalists?
  20. Who will emerge as the enforcer(s) of journalistic standards as traditional newsrooms and editorial controls vanish?
  21. If newspapers are struggling to generate print ad revenue, will they have any more luck generating online ad revenue?
  22. What industry is the next domino to fall after newspapers?
  23. Should colleges and universities still offer degree programs in print journalism?
  24. If you’re a PR and you’re not paying attention to the shifting journalism industry, how do you plan to be relevant in 5 years?
  25. Will TV news programs one day suffer the same fate as newspapers?

I told you there’d be a homework assignment, right? I want this to be a community discussion. Pick any of these 25 Big Questions and answer it in the comments. Extra credit if you respond to someone else’s comment. You in?

  • Mike Kraft

    12. Even as a journalism major I still don’t believe that the decline of the newspaper industry is a big deal because it is only one aspect of journalism; it is one that clearly is outdated in this world of modern technology. Nobody wants to wait a day to here yesterday’s news when they can go on the Internet and read everything they want to know or turn on the local news and be informed in 30 minutes. Timeliness is a key aspect of journalism and the printed version does not adhere to timeliness. Sure, 24 hours doesn’t seem like a long time, but it is when you consider that someone could read breaking news 24 seconds after it happens. Even if the print industry does die out, all of the newspapers will eventually be available online, giving them more space to work with and greater advertisement opportunities. There will always be a demand for people who can write well because it is difficult to find in today’s society. Journalism is not falling into the abyss; it’s simply evolving under Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

  • Rich Duncan

    Question Y: Y.Will TV news programs one day suffer the same fate as newspapers?

    I think that TV news programs will definitely suffer the same fate as newspapers and for the same exact reason. Technology is constantly evolving and in a time when you can read news on your phone and computer and other devices, you can do the same thing in terms of watching content. News reports have been saying that more people are beginning to cut costs by eliminating their cable or satellite packages. Why would people pay outrageous cable costs in addition to their internet bill when they can just pay for internet and then watch their favorite tv shows and movies online? With computers being able to be hooked up to large screen tvs and the rise of hulu for television streaming and netflix allowing instant movie streams, people will increasingly begin to cut ties with their cable and satellite providers. This will eventually impact television news programs unless they adapt. However, NBC has videos of their news stories availble on their site and could continue this model, but then they have the same issue as print magazines and newspapers who switch to the internet such as how to raise revenue.

  • Rich Duncan

    I totally agree with you and good point mentioning timeliness as being key to journalism. That is the problem with newspapers that are not embracing their online component as much simply because people will already read the story online before that paper prints it and therefore have no reason to buy the physical version of the other paper. I am excited about news transferring to the internet because it is more convient to just click a link and read the whole story rather than having to flip a few pages to finish and then flipping back to read the next story. Also you can incorporate more elements to the story and it makes for a more engaging experience for the reader.

  • Alma I Hidalgo

    G.Is the blogosphere an adequate substitute for journalism
    I honestly think that the blogosphere could be an adequate substitute for journalism depending on the situation. Particularly because not everyone in the world have the freedom to openly write a story about the real issues that are occurring in the community without taking a risk of getting killed or encarcerated by the government of the country. This is clearly seen in Egypt where journalist are not permitted to speak against the government. The young people have been force to take action by blogging about whats trully going on in the country. The whole idea that you can scream but you cant act have been forced into the Media community in this country. This is the reason why in situation like these then blogosphere can become a substitute for journalism however, when it comes into acknowledging the accurracy of the news, the public should be aware the possibilities of the information being inaccurate.
    When it comes to the United States,however, I think the blogosphere should not become a sustitute for journalism particularly because we do have the freedom to openly talk about the issues that are happening without any reprecussions. As Americans we are really priviledge to have our constitution that protects our freedom of speech as opposed to other countries througout the world.

  • Alma I Hidalgo

    I think though this is true about news in the United States, I think like I stated before some people in other countries dont have other option but to blog about whats going on in their communities. Does this mean we should regard this information as inaccurate thats a question that should be left to the audience in that particular country. Also, since blogging is becoming a really popular source of information I think a system for blogging should be develop just to avoid the legitimate news dilemma that this blogging of information is encountering. However, in general I do agree that blogging should not be substituted for journalism.

  • http://katherineraymond.wordpress.com/ Katherine Raymond

    In response to question I, I definitely think that social media has an increasingly important role in the way we, as journalists, interact and deliver with news and audiences. I think that objectivity and fairness are inherent in our reporting, but I don’t believe people desire that as much anymore. Because the Internet allows us to fashion our own newscast of sorts, people are looking for what they want to hear. They seek the news they’re most interested, in my opinion. Thus, using social media to relay information in a way that appeals to people’s interests, is probably the best way we’ll still reach a large audience. I’d definitely be more willing to engage in social media if I knew people were actually learning and having a vested interest in the content.

  • http://katherineraymond.wordpress.com Katherine Raymond

    I agree with Nicola Gibb. I think that people desire something tangible. Reading on a computer screen is so fleeting because you click onto the next story and hardly have time to reflect on the one you just read. When you have a newspaper or magazine article in front of you, you can make notes in the margins or reread it a couple of times without making your eyes too tired. And, true about the blogosphere – there are a lot of voices with a lot of opinions, but that can be a good thing. I think most people want to have the truth, while some stretch it to fit their interests. While journalism is fair and balanced a lot, blogs also act as sort of a community’s voice in some regards because a majority of people are going to be truthful and balanced themselves while writing. There are pundits and some who choose to be very slanted, but I think a lot of people generally are fair. Thanks for your comment!