Challenges and Opportunities for News Media and Journalism in an Increasingly Digital Mobile: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Media.

Challenges and Opportunities for News Media and Journalism in an Increasingly Digital Mobile: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Media.

Kheder Omar Lawa (Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3042-9.ch003

Abstract

This paper reviews challenges and opportunities for news media and journalism in today's changing media environment. It documents that we are moving towards an increasingly digital, mobile, and social media environment with more intense competition for attention. More and more people get news via digital media, they increasingly access news via mobile devices (especially smartphones), and rely on social media and other intermediaries in terms of how they access and find news. In this environment, a limited number of large technology companies enable billions of users across the world to navigate and use digital media in easy and attractive ways through services like search, social networking, video sharing, and messaging. As a consequence, these companies play a more and more important role in terms of (a) the distribution of news and (b) digital advertising.
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Introduction

A well–functioning democracy requires free and diverse news media capable of keeping people informed, holding powerful actors to account, and enabling public discussion of public affairs. Existing research suggests that quality journalism can increase levels of political knowledge, participation, and engagement and can furthermore help reduce corruption and encourage elected officials to represent their constituents more effectively. The freedom, diversity, and ability of news media to enable democracy depend on the institutional structure of individual countries’ media environment. Today, these media environments are changing in part as a result of technological and market developments largely associated with the rise of digital media. More research that delve into aspect of consumer behavior and psychology in the digital economy is deemed necessary (Ling Chang, Ling Tam, & Suki, 2016; Nathan, Fook Chiun, & Suki, 2016; Suki, 2016). Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to review evidence–based research on the opportunities and challenges these developments represent for news media and their role in democracy in different contexts. We will rely on research carried out at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, other up–to–date relevant academic work, as well as industry data and analysis. Our primary focus is on Europe with some additional consideration of developments in other high– to medium–income regions with relatively high levels of digital media use. The precise nature of change in the media environment varies in important ways from country to country, but there are some clear, high–level commonalities that represent both opportunities and challenges for journalism, media organizations, and public debate.

The three most important developments driven by technological and market forces today are:

  • 1.

    The move to an increasingly digital, mobile, and social media environment with increasingly intense competition for attention where legacy media like broadcasters and especially newspapers, while remaining very important news producers are becoming relatively less important as distributors of news and are under growing pressure to develop new digital business models as their existing operations decline or stagnate.

  • 2.

    The growing importance of a limited number of large technology companies that enable billions of users across the world to navigate and use digital media in easy and attractive ways through services like search, social networking, video sharing, messaging, etc. and who as a consequence play a more and more important role in terms of (a) the distribution of news and (b) digital advertising.

  • 3.

    The development of a high–choice media environment where internet users have access to more and more information in convenient formats and often for free, across a range of increasingly sophisticated personal and mobile devices, and in ways that enable new forms of participation—an environment where those most interested in news embrace these new opportunities to get, 8 share, and comment on news, but a larger number of people opt for more casual and passive forms of use.

These three developments are broadly common across most high– and medium– income countries with wide access to digital media. They are enabled by technology and some of the most pressing accompanying challenges to journalism are associated with the market implications, but it is important to recognize that they are driven by media users. Technology is changing media and media markets, but primarily because audiences and advertisers have embraced them. Technologies enable change. People and organizations enact change.

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