Project: Asia Programme

Senior Research Fellow, Asia Programme

While the digital age poses a variety of serious challenges to the forms and finances of journalistic reporting, there is much potential for enhanced collaboration between Asian and European media organizations, writes Gareth Price.

People in metro, Tokyo. Photo: Rolf Georg Brenner / Contributor / Getty Images.People in metro, Tokyo. Photo: Getty Images.

Summary

  • While the ‘death of newspapers’ has been long predicted, the internet and social media provide the industry with significant challenges; traditional models are rapidly being made redundant. In particular, newspapers are no longer ‘gatekeepers’ of access to news.
  • Although newspapers were among the first industries to recognize the internet’s importance, they have performed poorly at monetizing readership in the digital age. Instead, many revenue streams have been diverted from newspapers to IT companies and news aggregators.
  • Some newspapers and journalists have sought funding from foundations, or through crowd-sourcing for particular investigations, though there are clear concerns about the sustainability and impartiality of such models.
  • Usage of social media as a source of news is increasing. However, in divided societies the dissemination of false ‘news’ through social media can threaten community cohesion. Some organizations have therefore started validating social media stories.
  • Although the challenges facing the media are global, there are regional and country-specific issues. The combination of European technology and Asia’s growing markets suggests there is potential for greater engagement between journalists in Europe and Asia. Already, many Asian newspapers run articles by European newspapers. On the other hand, the rising international prominence of Asian powers such as China means that European newspapers are also likely to devote more attention to Asia.
  • Globalization means that the traditional method whereby a journalist gets a scoop for an individual newspaper is likely to be replaced by institutionalized collaboration between different news outfits with input from ‘citizen journalists’.