New journalisms, new challenges
Editors: Fowler- Watt, K.
This chapter sets out five key challenges for journalism if it is to survive and flourish in today’s post truth world.
Today’s journalism is full of paradoxes. In the recent past, we have witnessed extraordinary scoops uncovering fraud and corruption, brave reporting from the cruellest of global conflicts and the exposure of sexual abuse, human rights violations and people trafficking. On the face of it, news journalism is excelling in its classic duty to shine a light in the darkest corners and uncover the truth. But at the same time, journalism itself is mired in scandal, news organisations are fighting for survival and journalists are vilified as ‘enemies of the people’. Trust in news has plummeted in an era of fake news, disinformation and manipulation while the level of public discourse on social media is plumbing new depths. This chapter examines this paradox and asks how we got into this mess. Critically, it sets out five key challenges which, the authors suggest, must be addressed if trust is to be re-established and if journalism is to emerge fighting fit from this turbulent period. Those challenges start with the need for a better understanding of audiences, audience behaviour and their expectations which, in turn, leads to the need to connect more effectively with publics and marginalised voices. Further challenges focus on tackling fake news and the role of social media platforms in spreading it, recognising the increasingly diverse and fluid nature of today’s labour market for journalists and, finally, evolving an innovative pedagogy to support the new generation of journalists about to enter the profession.