“Journalism is not in any way faced with extinction.”
These are the words of US academic Joe Foote when responding to widespread concerns in the industry that the end of the ‘profession’ of journalism may be near.
Foote, Dean of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma, believes that the free reign digital users have enjoyed thus far will in the near future result in the spreading of so many rumours that people will demand facts and will look to professional journalism for that.
He predicts that within the next 10 years there is going to be a chaotic event in the world where all of the rumour mill and the internet chatter will be so misleading and confusing that audiences will beg for professionalization.
“I have no doubt that there will be a resurgence of journalism, it will be demanded by the people themselves because it is absolutely essential that we have this (journalism) for the future of democratic governance and for the future of civil society; and while people’s opinions are important, in the end they are just that: they are opinion and not facts and someone needs to be concerned with the facts,” says Foote.
Foote expresses confidence that while there seems to be appreciation of information coming out from informal sources, the time will come where the people will appreciate the value of journalism and will cry out for more of it, and that the importance of informal opinions will diminish while the importance of fact-based journalism will rise.
Wijayananda Jayaweera, Director of the International Programme for the Development of Communication at UNESCO agrees that professional journalism will continue to be relevant irrespective of threats brought about by online technology to news media business.
“Business models for news organisations may change, but what matters is who creates the content; we need people who are qualified and capable to provide the content so professional journalism will still be needed,” says Jayaweera.
Foote warns however that the next decade will not be easy for journalism;
“But I am very optimistic beyond that and my advice to young people is to hang in there, to crave the excitement of building the way and starting something new and better,” he concludes.
Listen to the audio podcasts below:
(* press F5 to Refresh on your keyboard if the video does not appear on your screen)
1. Joe Foote Predicts the Resurgence of Journalism