New Age Journalism: The Rise And Evolution Of News
Updated: Jan 2
What is humanity without a voice?
Powerless. Quiet. Disconnected.
Human beings have always been driven by opinions and expressions, something that connects and binds us. Our source of information may have changed from reading a newspaper to swiping on social media, but what remains constant is the fact that it has been journalism that has brought everyone together.
On that note, let’s go back and unravel the metamorphic expedition of journalism- how it started, how far it has come, and where it will reach in the future.
THE ROAD TOWARDS CHANGING AND EVOLVING.
The first face of journalism in India was the Bengal Gazette, an English newspaper. Since then, we as a country have seen quite a lot of transformation in the journey of news and communication. It sometimes leads people to wonder if this is just a subtle change or if journalism is evolving for the better.
To answer it honestly, the road leads us somewhere in between. While the focal point still remains to share real news and facts, how news is being delivered has drastically changed. One major shift is the transformation of print journalism to e-journalism with data driving every piece of information that is shared. Here’s what effect this new wave of journalism has on the present-day audience.
There is a thin line between fiction and reality. Data Journalism aims to ensure the line is not crossed or blended.
It is a process of journalism where storytelling is primarily driven by data sets and verified information. In the early 1970s, the term "precision journalism" was coined to support the new wave of news reporting. Precision journalism focuses on integrating more facts and statistics into pieces, similar to what data journalism does today!
Gone are the days when people revolved around mere words. Everything today needs to have verified information supporting it for anyone to completely grasp the severity of the situation or even follow it. Nobody would have been able to seriously understand the gravity of the Australian Bush Fire if the media hadn’t reported about it from moment to moment and informed the harm it caused to the 3 BILLION animals. Facts add precision and validity to the news.
Besides being data-driven, journalism has become informative and immediate to a great extent. The audience has become way more opinionated and communicative as they don’t only have access to every update of these stories but also facts and figures that support them. About 80% of the news today consists of analysed data which was not the case during print journalism. Media Trials are also one of the key factors that have contributed to the demand for data and validated details. Remember when the whole country had some say in the Aarushi Talwar case? Yes, that was hoisted by media trials. However, today, the audience believes in what journalists present and not what they opine.
The sudden haste in this new way of delivering statistical news has also put forward the need to have better fact checks and online reputation management teams to make sure whatever is being said is not faux.
WHY IS DATA-DRIVEN JOURNALISM A NEED AND NOT A CHOICE?
Unlike choices, a need arises from an immediate necessity for change. So what has created this need for journalism to depend on facts more than ever?
1. THE ABUNDANCE OF INFORMATION
There’s too much happening around the world. To track it all down and filter it as per what is important and what is just a rumour, journalism needs to go beyond hunting and gathering information. This is exactly what data journalism is doing. It helps in eliminating, analyzing and filtering news on the basis of scientific facts and verified data.
2. GROWING WITH THE AUDIENCE
Along with journalism, it is also the audience that has evolved. The audience looks forward to consuming factual stories and has strong opinions about them. Data journalism makes society more accountable by showing it the mirror, allowing room to double-check theories and stances. This leads to a less biased view of the things happening around us.
Since 2005, the digital universe has grown by 33%. Everyone has become tech-savvy. To not lag behind, the way of delivering news also needs to be upgraded. Data journalism not only helps in providing precise information but also keeps it crisp and mobile-friendly, making it easier for people to consume news, irrespective of their time crunch and lower retention rate.
THE AMALGAMATION OF BRAND AND JOURNALISM
With the growth news or content, consumption has seen, the definition of journalistic ‘story’ has also evolved. It is no more about characters but about the facts that build the characters, not merely about news portals but also about the one creating them. Journalism has also seeped into marketing and has become friends with brands over the years. Every brand now likes to keep a track of its positioning in the audience’s minds. Just why they, too have started depending on journalism to create, improve, and highlight their public image. Brands know that metrics, facts, and figures carry way more face value than words. They leave no stone unturned to use these data in their favour. This gives the brands a reality check of how they are being perceived and what needs to be done to change that image. Not just them, but it also helps the PR team to make strategic plans that will serve the brands in the best way possible.
To put it in a nutshell, the evolution of journalism has given marketing a new and creative way- one that has a far-flung future.
From print to online consumption to marketing, journalism has come a long way. While so much is being said about its advancement, one must keep in mind that the pillars of delivering news still remain the same- ethics, accuracy, and transparency.
The new journalism may be more fierce, accurate and fascinating but it is also honest. What are your thoughts on new-age journalism?