Development of media quality in the digital age
What is the state of journalism and how will it evolve in the future? Is quality declining in the face of fake news and hate messages, or do these trends tend to lead to an increase in the quality of journalism as a counter-reaction? Daniel Schäfer, who has worked for the Frankfurter Allgemeine, the Financial Times, the Handelsblatt and Bloomberg, has developed some theses on this subject, which he published online in the Handelsblatt on Oct. 23, 2021 untder the title Drei Gründe, warum der Qualitätsjournalismus nicht ausgedient hat (in German).
Three theses on the future of journalism
- There are professionals at work. Journalism has become much more professional; for example, there are hardly any more invitation trips that lead to favoritism articles. Modern data analysis also shows what readers want.
- Paid models are on the rise. Subscribers are the future, and the free culture is on the retreat. Increasingly, people are willing to pay for digital quality journalism.
- Demand for quality journalism is unbroken. 53 percent of Germans would trust traditional news sources and only 14 percent would trust social media. In the young audience, however, things look different. Here, traditional media would have to “accelerate their transformation once again” and invest more money in digital strategy and technology such as data analysis and artificial intelligence.
Publishers and editors need to move faster toward digital first
Schäfer believes publishers and editorial teams have an obligation to continue to drive the transformation toward “digital first”: “The media must act now and invest more money in digital strategies and technologies such as data analysis and artificial intelligence. Where they lack the money to do so, creative solutions such as new investors, partnerships and collaborations are needed.”
In conclusion, Schäfer is sure that not all traditional media will make the transition and that the difference between ‘the best and the rest’ will grow, as in other industries. But he is equally certain that quality journalism has a bright future, even in the digital age.