Traditional v Digital

Newsrooms of the 21st century have entered a ‘golden age’ where adaptability has become more than just a buzzword.

We’re more than just newsreaders or news-bodies; we’re increasingly taking on the role of online content curators.  You’ll see a story generated on air take on a life of its own within the digital world and vice-versa.

There are those who’d argue focussing newsroom resources is a distraction on what should be the main focus that being the on air product. That argument is valid, but is quickly being overwhelmed by ‘reality’.

A recent report produced by the Reuters Institute turned up some interesting points that are worth considering in the great ‘on-air versus online’ argument.

The Reuters Digital News Report quizzed thousands of people in 12 countries, including Australia. They were asked a range of questions ranging from ‘trust’ to ‘usage’ to what’s ‘important’ and of ‘interest’ to the user.

The question of ‘trust’ is rather confronting, especially as most of us what pride ourselves of being ‘impartial’ and above ‘editorialising’. But, as they say, perception is reality.

The Australian respondents said they don’t trust ‘most news most of the time’.  Just 39 per cent think that

‘they can trust most of the news most of the time’.

Ow, that hurts.

But on the upside, more than half the Aussie respondents said they were ‘more likely to trust the news outlet they personally use’.  That’s a relief for those who take pride in their job.

The report also found that we love being online, which is no major revelation.  But, it’s now become a major source of news and information.  It’s also a major threat to traditional news outlets.

Online outlets are now the main source of news for Australians and globally, Facebook users are logging on in bigger numbers to access news and information – again this is no surprise.

Breaking down the numbers, 44 per cent say the Internet is their single main source of news followed by TV (35%), radio (9%) and print (8%).

There is a shift in numbers when it comes to demographics with the Internet more likely to be used by Millenials to stay in touch with events.  Older Aussies are more likely to use traditional sources.  That shift evident in the 35+ age group and predominant in the 45-to-54 age bracket.

So, what does that mean for radio journalists?

We still have a role to play, especially among the older demographics.  It should be recognised and utilised.  And who wouldn’t want more resources?

But in this digital age, the radio journalist has to evolve or cease to be relevant.  Embrace the online world and use it as a tool to future proof ourselves.

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