The Guardian’s Editor on the Future of Journalism

I visited The Guardian for an insight into the newspaper, the staff writers’ views on the state of journalism and what lies ahead for the future of the media.

Alan Rusbridger has been editor – in- chief  for  15 years. He explained how social media and citizen journalism are revolutionizing the trade and how journalists must evolve with the times when digital is outsmarting the original format.

  • Alan on what the social media does for journalism –  it brings a rich diversity:

”   As a newspaper The Guardian believes in collaborating with the digital revolution.  We are at the beginning of new times for journalism, a time of experimenting. In the times of digital media people are publishing stories themselves and often have much better specialist knowledge in particular areas compared to the journalists. Even government and academic papers are openly available digitally. Therefore, we have said to these organizations and think tanks ( for example experts in environmental issues) that they can use the same platform as us – bringing our audience richer, more accurate and innovative information. A recent example is the Wikileaks on the Afghan war, when we got the documents they were so complex we posted them online for help, then we reported the information in a accessible news style. Sometimes it’s equally valid to ask people what they mean and then to filter the information as a journalist.”

  • The Guardian’s pioneering dissemination of news and debate:

” Our Comment is Free section was the first of its kind to pull together all the diverse sources of current affairs commentary – a huge variety of voices. We thought why just have a small number of writers commentary on a vast amount of subjects? We recruited a 1000 people with interesting things to say, such as activists, academics, NGOs. The result has been the hugely popular section, which has been a big part of why The Guardian online, with 37 million users every day, has a reputation as a great, progressive paper. It’s second only to the New York Times as the most read online paper in the world. The Guardian understands that in these times the story doesn’t end the time you’ve finished writing it. Journalism that allows the public to challenge and give clarification, creates a chance to really get to the truth of something. ”

  • What the digital revolution means for journalists:

“Journalists must collaborate with the digital revolution, on so many subjects the public know more than we initially do and this is a great treasure as this brings us new rich and diverse knowledge. You can see from the readers’ comments to columnist pieces that the public can stir debate and destroy arguments quickly. Journalists should make use of this new dimension to journalism. Twitter is a huge and powerful journalistic tool for distributing news and reaching vast numbers, for example, the MPs’ expenses story broke through 20,000 tweets. Guardian journalists use Twitter to build communities around what they are doing, with re-tweets there is so many people on a story.  Now every event has 5000 people with cameras to take pics – we must take notice of the importance of citizen journalism.”

Four main points to remember about the ‘new’ journalism:

1.  We must encourage public participation

“The public should be able to respond and debate in a way which affects journalists’ work with their feedback. ”

2. News agendas should be set by the readers

Journalists must take notice and be interested in what the public are following to find the good stories.”

3.  Digital is completely different from print

“The digital platform makes the public and journalists partners in the network of coverage, it’s our job to turn the radical to the professional.”

4. Diversity is key

At The Guardian we are always thinking of radical ideas, like inverting the traditional model of commentator to bring our readers something interesting.”

Conclusion:

“We must learn how to deal with ‘citizen journalism’ , it will be interesting to see in the future how it is going to affect journalism. The Guardian is  proud to be the only paper which corrects its information in the light of public response. Whilst celebrating diversity of opinion, editors must be moderators and create a space which has a consistent ethos and ethical publishing. The internet means the personalization of peoples’ news consumption but at same time the news is great for bringing people together around the same topic. The power is changing, we are at the brink of an exciting revolution for journalism.”

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Comments
3 Responses to “The Guardian’s Editor on the Future of Journalism”
  1. Neville says:

    Very inspiring article for current and buddying journalists! cool stuff x

  2. jameela1 says:

    Thanks 🙂 but it’s ‘budding’ journalists not buddying!

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