The digital world is destroying traditional media business models as people find news via their friends and then expect to read it for free. So goes the widespread lament about the future of British (and international) journalism.
However, Nic Newman’s latest report for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found a much more positive position for individual journalists doing their day to day work. His research found many concerned about the future of news organisations’ business models but also that social media means, “news correspondents and columnists are gaining new authority and influence through their expert use of social media. Some are becoming ‘network nodes’ attracting significant audiences of their own – independently of their parent brands”. Moreover, “Twitter has become a crucial tool for journalists … and now plays a central role in the way stories are sourced, broken and distributed”.
Even better, whilst social media sees huge numbers of different people sharing and talking about the news, “mainstream media content is the lifeblood of topical social media conversations in the UK – providing the vast majority of news links that are shared”.
In other words, social media is making journalists into more important figures, makes their job easier and is dominated by their output.
Now, if only organisations can crack the business models which would keep their salaries funded…