The birth of social media has led to broadcasters and media agencies losing their role as the gatekeepers of the news and left them scrambling to find a new place in the industry.
No longer do we read the paper or turn on the TV in the morning, we tap into Twitter and scroll through our newsfeed. So here’s four ways realtime technology has changed the way we access the news, and my advice on how broadcasters and publishers can keep up.
1. Content is king but trust is treasure
If journalists are no longer first on the scene, and eyewitness accounts are already available online, what can media organisations add? The answer is the same as it has always been; trust, structure and accuracy.
Anyone can tweet that they’ve seen a monkey escape from the zoo. (Or that their friend told them a monkey escaped. Or that they saw something monkey-shaped near the zoo…) But casual amateurs are much less likely to confirm it actually happened, find out why and explore what that means with authority and integrity.
Media organisations have to act as true curators of not just content but truth. Organising eyewitness accounts into a structured narrative, verifying every piece of information with follow-up and adding additional context and colour is something few amateurs have time for.
2. Journalists’ power parallels publishers’
Traditionally media organisations would own the main distribution channel for a journalist’s reporting. This could have been a TV channel, a newspaper or a website.
As social media platforms became the places with the biggest audience, this changed. Media organisations, publishers and broadcasters created their own accounts and started sharing stories there.
The problem was, these platforms were built for individuals to communicate, not brands. So as media organisations see steady social audience growth, the more opinionated and tech savvy journalists have ended up with more fans than the publication they write for.
This shift in power means that journalists can be the key distribution channel for their work, the publication plays a different role in hosting and presenting this work, and that’s why my next point is particularly pertinent.
3. Tech and talent transformation
Almost every media organisation has a dedicated digital team to help them gather, present and distribute news in the right way for their readers.
For news gathering, journalists need to work with their tech team to create a sense of omniscience over an event. Thanks to increasingly open APIs, data coming from email, SMS, voice, RSS feeds and a multitude of sources can be fed into notification systems and live dashboards can be constructed providing an automated real-time pulse of information to an agency.
For reporting back out to the world, web developers can craft beautiful ways for reporters to tell their story. Developers can use tools like GNIP or DataSift to curate social commentary and tools like Pusher to power realtime comments.
4. The newsroom is no longer physical
This one is simple. Journalists don’t have to work in the same place to work on the same story anymore. The newsroom was once a bustling office full of shouting editors, ringing phones and whirring printers. Now they can share and discuss breaking topics using realtime messages apps like Slack and Hipchat, then authors and editors can collaborate on content using apps like Google Docs.
There are also other tools built on real-time technology that can help improve day to day operations – Asana can be used to streamline and organise everyone’s workflow and accounting platforms like Xero make expenses and pay slips a doddle.
By replacing physical locations and tools with digital ones it allows media organisations to spread reporters across the globe, cut down on overheads for office space and ensure the organisation is ready to adapt when the next wave of change comes.
And this is just the beginning
Now media organisations are starting to find their place, there’s an opportunity to build much more news-focused solutions with realtime technologies such as Pusher; integrating live data and offering real-time functionality to address the workflow required to validate, curate and deliver the news as it happens.
Internally they can improve the tools and workflows they use to report and share the news. It can make their websites and applications the destination for live events and breaking news, and in which communities grow and contribute to the story.
Broadcasters need to continue embracing real time technology and recognise it represents a massive opportunity for media agencies to once again dominate the news landscape and fulfil our instinctive quest for knowledge.