Online Convergence is the Future of Print Journalism - Experts
With the changing times in the print journalism profession and the prediction that journalists and editors’ jobs are among the top six jobs facing extinction by 2030, it is imperative that upcoming print journalists develop new set of skills that will help them in the newspaper industry that is changing, with readers being the main change agents.
The Guest Speaker, Mrs. Laju Iren, stated this at the Town and Gown seminar of the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, on Friday, February 10, 2017, while making a presentation titled “Print: Set Skills for a Set Industry.” According to her, the new media landscape is a major factor, being the place where the readers are gathered in search of news.
Citing available statistics, Mrs. Iren, who is a journalist with the Vanguard Media Ltd, said between the year 2000 and 2015, advertising revenue has fallen from $60 billion to $20 billion, wiping out the gains of the previous 50 years, and the lost money from hard copy advertising revenue can be traced to digital advertising on the social media.
She noted that this drop in revenue has made it imperative that journalism practice of the future would require experienced individuals with not just conventional journalism skills, but a good understanding of the social media environment.
Mrs. Iren, who is a graduate of the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, posited that newspapers that would survive these threats must be ready to compete with bloggers and vloggers on the social media environments. She averred that newspapers must be ready to stay online and converge. “Newspaper organizations, especially those with an online presence do not just see themselves as newspapers but as full scale media organizations, responsible for audio and video news as well,” she added.
The Guest Speaker noted that experts have generally agreed that media convergence has transformed the conventional journalist from a lone wolf into a multimedia team player. This means that today’s journalist must come to terms with convergence as the name of the game, and the internet being the playing field.
She attributed the online convergence to the speed and immediacy factors, direct access to information sources, cost effectiveness, improved competition and professionalism, wider reach, immediate feedback and interaction mechanisms it avails consumers of news. However, she noted that the online convergence allows room for laziness and reduced professionalism, lack of regulation, technical difficulties, information overload and at times, inaccuracies.
Earlier on, the Head, Department of Mass Communication, Dr. Lanre Amodu, represented by Dr. Olusola Oyero, said it is important that academics take advantage of the special learning system, for the purpose of improving future professional delivery.
“The presenter of today’s Town and Gown, being a product of the Department will provide a unique experience for participants and motivate others to seek a career path in journalism,” he enthused.