Digital is the future for Journalism, but not on social media- young journalists speak up

May 22, 2024

Digital is the future for Journalism, but not on social media- young journalists speak up

Lyric Waiwiri-Smith (left) PHOTO: Stuff, and Lucy Bendell (right), PHOTO: Bella Ireland.

Journalism’s future is becoming increasingly digital, but its young practitioners are aware of the risks and uncertainties it brings with it.

This year, the major closures at NewsHub and TVNZ have dominated headlines nationwide.

Te Waha Nui reporter Bella Ireland spoke to three young journalists sharing their common belief that digital is the future.

“Journalism is going to change and we're starting to see that change this year a lot.

“There's always going to be space to tell stories, but that platform will change,” Breakfast producer Lucy Bendell says.

The situation now is similar to past evolutions from traditional news to radio and television says Stuff reporter Lyric Waiwiri-Smith.

“I'm sure they thought of that as like the end of journalism, so hopefully this is not an end and just a rebirth.”

“But it's something different this time around, because [it sounds like] we're not getting any help from the government, it's just in this limbo situation,” says Te Karere reporter, Ethan Oneroa.

Social media is a powerful platform, grasping the attention of younger audiences, something that can be used, say all three.

“Social media is inescapable, so we should all embrace it, but it's a catch-22 for sure,” says Waiwiri-Smith.

Social media's role in news production raises concerns about credibility, algorithmic biases, and accuracy in citizen journalism, they say.

“It's about educating everyone on who is a viable source.

“I'm not sure how we're going to do this, perhaps one day schools will be teaching it,” says Bendell.

One major challenge social media poses to journalists is the issue of media corporations not adequately compensating news organisations for their content, they say.

Oneroa says “it’s very much uncharted territory we’re heading into at the moment.”

The Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill was proposed last year to help combat this but is not in the government’s urgent bill list.

Stuff has perhaps taken the first step towards a new form of journalism, with a ‘stories’ feature on their app says Oneroa.

Stories of short, easily digestible news like on social media platforms, but on an accurate trusted news publication app.

“It’s these sorts of things, I feel like they're leading.”

“The news media in the traditional sense has to change somehow, what that will look like, I’m not sure. That's up to it's up to the hierarchy to decide, we’ll wait and see what happens,”   he says.

Despite these uncertainties, they all believe that there will always be a place for journalism.

“Stay in it, keep in there, and find creative ways of telling your stories, because they need it,” Oneroa says.

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