How technology is changing the news ecosystem

Digital industry has changed the way the news is disseminated. Experts at a recent event discussed how new technologies are reshaping the newsrooms

e4m by Apeksha Mishra
Updated: Aug 9, 2018 8:51 AM

Lines between journalism and technology are slowly blurring. The rapid growth of digital industry has changed the way the news is disseminated. Over time, it has also brought about a fundamental change in the formatting of broadcast news and has transformed the way consumers expect to get information. Technology is certainly shaping the future of work in newsrooms as it weaves data into stories.

A discussion was held on the topic at an event in New Delhi recently. The session was moderated by Suresh Venkat, independent media consultant & anchor.

Talking about the way the digital medium conveys a message in today’s date, Samir Patil, Founder & CEO, Scroll.in, said, “Not sure whether it’s a good message, but certainly today, digital media narrates the attention deficit factor in users. This is probably because the way we consume media has changed with time. We are not separated from our medium even for a minute. In short, media itself is the consumer these days.”

Commenting on the attention deficit factor, Francesca Panetta, Executive Editor, Virtual Reality, Guardian News & Media, said, “It totally depends on the content and the medium that is used to pass on the message. People are ready to stick to a Virtual Reality content which is nearly 10 minutes long at Guardian, implying that they are ready to watch the content if it is interesting. Hence, both quality of the content and the medium used to pass it on matter.”

Use of AR, VR in Newsrooms 

As the discussion veered towards the top five technologies that could impact production in newsrooms, Vikas Pandey, Senior Digital Producer of BBC in India, said Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) content allows a user to immerse oneself deep inside the story.

“It makes one think, empathize and connect with the content like no one else. These two key technologies help to create and recreate content that satisfies a user,” he said.

“Newsrooms are still reluctant to invest in AR, VR. This is because of lack of content in such mediums. Both, tech becoming simpler and content creators adapting to the technology, have to go hand in hand,” Pandey added.

Encountering Fake News

Discussing how the distribution of fake news using technology has turned out to be a gigantic problem in newsrooms, Patil said, “Smart technology could synthesize news videos, replace voices and construct news that isn’t true. In the long run, people might get skeptical about reading each and every content that is passed on to them. While there can be technologies in a newsroom to curb fake news, essentially only trust in information will undermine fake news. Readers are our only solution to check fake news in the long run.”

Panetta said established standards of journalism & fact-checking tools had kept them going so far.

“When 10 logical things are taken into a newsroom, we can avoid chances of encountering fake news. Trained and experienced journalists in newsrooms can very well recognize fake news,” she said.

Debating on whether there’s any technological solution to encounter fake news, Chirdeep Shetty, CEO of Quintype Inc., said, “Existing organizations with a legacy will never stake their reputation on fake news. The mischief is mainly seen to be coming from new organizations. New features such as ‘forwarded’, ‘suspicious’ on WatsApp and few on Facebook are being launched to suppress the distribution of fake news.”

While discussing how today internet is changing the world and how technology in newsroom is now different from the printing press era, Patil said, “Today’s era is a lot different. With digital media, the reach as well as the scale one can afford is a lot more that what it used to be. This is a total game changer. With consumers becoming distributors these days, one can reach out to a lot of information at one given time.”

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