The media and journalism are letting people down. Those interested in solid forms of reporting are in search of alternatives. While the youth look for entertainment, investors and researchers look for valuable information.
Many may claim that journalism is dead or that people are no longer interested in journalism. Yes, some defend this rhetoric. Influencers who have transitioned to journalism can spread the hype and be handsomely paid.
Complex issues, when reported, are presented in an oversimplified narrative; that brings us to two possible reasons: either the journalist or the influencer is unable to address the implications of them, or the news organisations believe that the readers are incapable of understanding multifaceted topics. One way or the other, the media is not fulfilling its role.
Issues are either glossed over with glowing and pleasant words, or they are written at the level of someone who has completed a year and a half of college. Media material is hardly written at a higher reading level.We have entered an age where there is a daring need for in-depth reporting, well-researched material, and analyses of arguments, ideas, and possible consequences.
At large, the role of the media is to inform, provide interpretation, instruct, create bonding and inspiration, entertain, and educate. Currently, media roles are chosen based on which audience they best serve. The younger and less educated people are more focused on visual networks and are becoming disconnected from the news.
Tick Tok is evolving into a trend characterised by visual and short content and dynamics defined by algorithmic recommendations. More news publishers are expected to adopt Tik Tok as a way to deliver information in the form of entertainment to younger audiences, meaning that individuals are more important than the news brand. The non-algorithmic messaging app Telegram is also expanding fast.
The question of how to preserve such a relevant field is being discussed globally concerning a variety of narrative and organizational forms. Should it lean more toward explanatory, questions- and- answers format, investigative, solution journalism, or motivational stories?
Whether we are talking about storytelling formats, user needs, targeted objectives, or the personal journalist, the reality is that we are not sure what changes will be made or whether the news dancing in Tik Tok will prevail. Time spent on Tik Tok is increasing among male audiences looking for funny and entertaining videos. Tell me about the most recent book you read... and you get a blank stare back.
Merely producing content is not enough. Now, we have to understand the psychology and sociology that underlie the topics to be covered and how to communicate them. An analysis by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that changes in professional journalism and the news industry, as well as shifts in some regions of the world’s political contexts, are some of the worldwide trends that are having an impact on reporting.
One of the biggest issues in journalism’s survival and in-depth reporting rests mostly on sustainable revenue sources – beyond advertising. For context, according to DataReportal, at the start of 2022, Tik Tok’s ads reached 38.8 per cent, Instagram’s ads were equivalent to 37.0 per cent, and Snapchat’s ads reached 29.4 per cent of the total online population in Oman. This demonstrates that, in addition to the fact that trust in news is declining, readership and interest in information are brief.
We are rushing towards captivating entertainment and a superficial level of critical knowledge; the use of influencers and an uptick in political media intervention are causing journalism to lose its important function in society.
Journalism still matters. By whom and for whom remain at the heart of this profession. Yes, journalism is less robust these days, but it has not lost its relevance. The challenges are how to be creative in serious reporting, how to attract readership, but also how to have editorial independence.