Herbert Outlines Structural and Technological Changes in Journalism

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According to Herbert, there are great structural and technological changes that are affecting global news due to convergence and digitisation creating a new information age. Some of the main themes that Herbert discusses include the importance of professionalism, government control over press freedom, the need for creativity and technological advancements changing the creation and consumption of media.

The importance of news will never diminish as people have a right to access local and global information. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for professionalism to be practised in journalism, as these media professionals act as watchdogs over both democratic and non-democratic forms of government. Herbert raises the issue that governments recognise this and enforce regulations over media making it illegal for journalists to have complete freedom.

Journalists do have a lot more freedom however, in the way news is now collected and reported due to technological advancements. Gone are the days when a journalist had to be a foreign correspondent or a parachute journalist in order to report on international news.

Subscription databases are now the main source of background information. Technology has also changed the way news is consumed as it is becoming more interactive due to convergence and online channels. Convergence will not be the end of traditional media, says Herbert. Communication channels are changing, however there will not be a single composite system created as an outcome.

Herbert says there are a few key factors that are essential in journalistic work. Creativity is one of the most important, as this is one thing that cannot be generated or learnt by computers. The disadvantage of shifting online is that journalists run the risk of falling in to a cut and paste routine. It is also crucial for future journalists to act in a credible, neutral, unbiased and professional manner in order to reverse, what he calls, the ‘sleaze factor’ due to increased sensationalism of tabloid media decreasing respect for the industry.

Before reading Herbert’s chapter I believed that traditional media would be completely phased out within a few years, however he has raised a good point saying that radio didn’t kill newspapers and television didn’t kill radio.

 

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