‘Re-engaging audiences will require publishers to rethink’ practices of the past: Reuters Insititute Digital News Report

According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2024, authors Nic Newman with Richard Fletcher, Craig T. Robertson, Amy Ross Arguedas, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen wrote a section that caught my eye. Here it is:

Is news worth paying for?

”Interest in the news has been falling, the proportion avoiding it has increased, trust remains low, and many consumers are feeling increasingly overwhelmed and confused by the amount of news.

‘Artificial intelligence may make this situation worse, by creating a flood of low-quality content and synthetic media of dubious provenance. But these shifts also offer a measure of hope that some publishers can establish a stronger position. If news brands are able to show that their journalism is built on accuracy, fairness, and transparency – and that humans remain in control – audiences are more likely to respond positively.

‘Re-engaging audiences will also require publishers to rethink some of the ways that journalism has been practised in the past; to find ways to be more accessible without dumbing down; to report the world as it is whilst also giving hope; to give people different perspectives without turning it into an argument. In a world of superabundant content, success is also likely to be rooted in standing out from the crowd, to be a destination for something that the algorithm and the AI can’t provide while remaining discoverable via many different platforms. Do all that and there is at least a possibility that more people, including some younger ones, will increasingly value and trust news brands once again.’


‘Accuracy, fairness, and transparency,’ with humans still in control

Very interesting.

The report has some curious data that impacts the way those of us who grew up pre-internet might calculate ways that news is sourced, reported, edited, and shared. There’s so much to it, so many platforms, so many moving parts. What’s real, what’s trustworthy? (By the way, the report’s main sponsor is Google News Initiative. I’m curious what they are up to and why, so I’ll start following them and see if I learn something else. I saw they had an open call for people in Southeast Asia to try to make some news happen here. I wonder if they know how hard that is, given the governments of, say, Thailand, VN, Malaysia and Cambodia — the places I can say from firsthand experience I’ve been through for extended periods and seen people recoil if you try to get talking about anything remotely opinion-based because, who are you and why should I tell you anything I might get in trouble is a real fear. It took me a few years to understand the depth of it.) Well-meaning Western initiatives to get news up and going here in SE Asia, it’s interesting to see the idealism in their materials but I wonder how aware they are of the realities. What about when the government shuts down all the papers? That’s what happened here, in Cambodia. Then there was Kem Ley‘s very, very sad assassination.


Critical interpretations

What happens when that is blocked from getting out? Recent news tells us of Julian Assange’s plea deal. ‘After a years-long legal saga, Wikileaks says that founder Julian Assange has left the UK after reaching a deal with US authorities that will see him plead guilty to criminal charges and go free,’ reports the BBC, here. I am reading this and having all kinds of responses to it, but none of them make sense to pen down on this blog in public. More in S P A C E. To be continued, there, with musings over a lot of media-focused existential-and-introspective questions.

Separately, I also really enjoyed Kara Meyberg Guzman’s TEDx talk, on the ‘rise of tiny news.’

Here it is: