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The Future of News. Robert L. Stevenson. UNC-CH School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Communication Revolution No. 1. Invention of writing Results: Communication across time and space Infinite accumulation of knowledge Flexible, expanding cultures

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the future of news

The Future of News

Robert L. Stevenson

UNC-CH School of Journalism and Mass Communication

communication revolution no 1
Communication Revolution No. 1
  • Invention of writing
  • Results:
    • Communication across time and space
    • Infinite accumulation of knowledge
    • Flexible, expanding cultures
    • Challenged authority of tribal leaders and guardians of culture
communication revolution no 2
Communication Revolution No. 2
  • Gutenberg’s invention of printing
  • Results:
    • Cheap, fast reproduction of information
    • News emerged quickly
    • Modern society became possible: languages, bureaucracy, democracy
    • Traditional authority challenged
communication revolution no 3
Communication Revolution No. 3
  • Convergence of technologies:
    • Computers
    • Satellites
    • Digitization
  • Result is capacity to transmit unlimited quantities of information from any point on earth to any other point almost instantly
implications
Implications
  • An end to national sovereignty?
  • Near impossibility of any kind of regulation? Or total regulation?
  • Information as new form of wealth and power
    • Information-rich and information-poor
    • Regulation of an information economy
an information driven world
An information-driven world
  • National control
    • Maintenance of legal standards
    • Taxation
    • Protection of intellectual property
  • A new form of Western (Anglo-American) global dominance?
the global news system
The global news system
  • A global network of computers, constantly updating time-sensitive data bases
  • Comprising…
    • A handful of Western information-based organizations operating globally
    • Second-tier national and regional agencies
    • A handful of elite national media
the global news system1
The global news system
  • Pumps massive quantities of information to local gatekeepers who allow a trickle into local media
  • Is dominated by Anglo-American organizations
  • Mixture of public and private
  • Follows Anglo-American style of content and format
the global news system2
The global news system
  • News capital is probably London, not New York
  • Information generated and distributed mostly in English
  • Surprisingly well connected to local and non-English media
the players
The players
  • Global wholesalers
  • Mixed suppliers
global news diet and menu
Global news diet and menu
  • Global system pumps a flood of information into small local systems
  • Tiny trickle get into most national and local media
  • In many (most?) countries, international news is a rare (but not endangered) species
a typical snapshot of the world
A typical snapshot of the world
  • One or two universal blockbuster stories, often violent
  • One or two major events with national involvement or linkages
  • A small but steady dose of business, sports, entertainment
influences on the world snapshot
Influences on the world snapshot
  • Global wholesalers and players set the agenda
  • Characteristics of the system: stationing of resources, economic, cultural ties
  • Gatekeeper news values (proximity, prominence, deviance, disruption)
  • U.S. as unique news superpower
alternative definitions of news
Alternative definitions of news
  • News is a coherent (ideological?) interpretation of the world
  • News is a non-partisan summary of events and useful data with a separate forum for opinions
  • News is now something else:
the revolution in news
The revolution in news
  • News is data
  • News is components
  • News is live or on-demand
  • News is multi-media
  • News is personal
  • News is interactive
re valuing information
Re-valuing information
  • Be traditional
  • Give away the news, sell the olds
  • Spread the costs
  • Give it away and sell ads
the downside of the future
The downside of the future
  • Commercial dominance
  • Rise of extremism
  • The digital divide
journalism in the future
Journalism in the future
  • Summarize events
  • Assemble elements of a complex event
  • Separate the probably true from the obviously false
  • Monitor powerful institutions
  • Tell us what to think about