Today on Mashable there are two stories that anyone interested in journalism should read. I’ve harped on relentlessly in this blog about the implications of technology and the social media revolution on journalism. These two stories cover both bases.
Maintaining a perception of journalistic objectivity has been one of the key problems for news organisations on Twitter. You may recall this blog discussing Reuters bringing in new rules for its twitterers back in March. Now the Washington Post is the latest company to put its foot down.
In a memo to staff, managing editor Raju Narisetti said:
“Once we enter a debate personally through social media, this would be equivalent to allowing a reader to write a letter to the editor–and then publishing a rebuttal by the reporter. It’s something we don’t do.”
Mashable’s Vadim Lavrusik in his analysis rightly argues that the Washington Post doesn’t get social media. In an era where journalism is becoming increasingly about engaging with readers and encouraging a debate, Narisetti has put a clear roadblock between his organisation and the future. Yes, the Post needs to monitor and regulate how Twitter is used, but to put a blanket ban on this kind of interaction is not the solution.
Now here’s an interesting one. Technology is widely credited with causing the decline in the newspaper industry, but here is a suggestion it will also be its saviour.
The article explores the popularity of the iPad and subsequent rise of apps for consuming newspapers. It suggests that the tablet revolution may be helping publishers tap into new digital markets. With this uptake new revenue models are being created that may just make publishing viable again.
It does point out that there is a way to go – newspapers are still not designing apps that take full advantage of the iPad’s capabilities. These comments about the Sydney Morning Herald iPad app seem to bolster this view.
I think it’s great that newspaper publishers may have found a way to stay viable (as it helps my chances of making a living!) but I think there is no doubt that if they expect consumers to pay, publishers will have to produce a product that’s worth the money.