We notice that more and more people read their “newspaper” online. Technological developments are facilitating this, and consequently checking the news online vs. buying a print paper is something that happens more “frequent”. It is also more time efficient and it saves money. This trend has a significant and growing impact on peoples' way of living.
Nowadays news comes to us through digital means first (eg. through mobile alerts), before it reaches us in print. Then, if you are interested, there are Blogs available with more information, background and arguments, going more deeply into a certain topic - again online. You could say that news is 'born' online, and it 'dies' online.
Print publications will not cease to exist, but I argue that they will transform into a weekly or weekend magazine, instead of a daily. These magazines will aim at including more in-depth articles, opinion pieces and analyses: as an addition to the breaking news now so readily available online.
However, print publications will also need to incorporate new technology in order to connect to the online community. Not only to inform, but also to entertain and/or communicate with the reader, as they need to compete with the online media who are strongly linked to much used social media.
As for journalists: they will need to adapt and reinvent themselves. They will need to learn how to write articles online (faster and shorter), how to integrate social media and writing blogs, etc. in their professional role as a journalist.
What about the content? I argue that in time we will see new companies, companies that produce content for others (so not publishing themselves): 'content providers'. Like the current Press Agencies, but than with more tailor-made, client oriented, customized content ready upon request. Content would be produced at a 'service company' and the publication (the client) then just has to package and publish the content for their readers. Also, since more and more VIPs from the political-economic world are keen on having personal visibility, it will be easier to have them contribute to a publication for free.
The future content of media will be 3-fold in my view:
1. Tailor-made content coming from a so-called 'content provider', described earlier;
2. Voluntary contributions from VIPs (mainly from the political and economic arena);
3. Journalists who package the requested content from the 'content provider', conform editorial guidelines – transforming them more into an editor, taking more care of editing incoming content and publishing less themselves. Leading the journalists/editors is an Editor-in-Chief who imposes the editorial line by eg. writing a column.
What will the future of media look like? The future of media is clearly online, a 'one-stop shop' that combines all technological developments to cater all possible needs of the reader:
1. Stories will be max. 2 screens long;
2. They will have video's embedded (max 2 min.);
3. It will include 2-3 links to pertinent Bloggers;
4. Automated RSS from other media which report on the same topic will also be included.
Ideally, to me, these developments will then be available on an A4-size tablet, light and easy to use. This tablet would be bigger than is available now, but as light or even lighter: a device that will compete with the PC.
Dan LUCA / Brussels