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  • Lawrence Ng

Future of News in the AI and Social Media World, Reuters Research

In a rapidly evolving media landscape, the future of journalism faces both challenges and opportunities. New research by Reuters states that the year 2024 is expected to bring significant disruptions and transformations driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and changing audience preferences.


Robots reading Newspaper - AI Generated
Robots reading Newspaper - AI Generated

According to a research report by Nic Newman, Senior Research Associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, based on a survey of 314 news leaders from 56 countries and territories, reveals that only 47% of editors, CEOs, and digital executives express confidence in the prospects for journalism in the year ahead. Rising costs, declining advertising revenue, and increasing legal and physical harassment are among the concerns voiced by industry professionals.


One of the key trends highlighted in the report is the disruptive power of AI. As critical elections loom in over 40 democracies and conflicts persist in Europe and the Middle East, the impact of AI on the reliability of information and the sustainability of mainstream media cannot be ignored. Journalists and news organisations are urged to rethink their role and purpose in this rapidly changing landscape.


AI is not only transforming content creation but also distribution. The report predicts the emergence of Search Generative Experiences (SGE) and AI-driven chatbots, which will revolutionise the way audiences access information. However, concerns are raised about the potential decline in referral traffic from social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, which could further reduce audience flows to established news sites.


To adapt to these changes, publishers are exploring strategies to build direct relationships with their audiences. Investments in platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram are on the rise, while sentiment towards Facebook and Twitter has worsened. Publishers aim to have more control over content distribution and engage loyal customers by reducing their dependence on tech giants.


Changing audience preferences also drive shifts in content formats. News organisations are diversifying their offerings by producing more video content, newsletters, and podcasts, while still maintaining a similar number of news articles. This reflects the growing demand for audio and visual formats in news consumption.


However, news avoidance and news fatigue remain significant challenges. With an overwhelming amount of information available, audiences are becoming more selective in their news consumption. Sustaining interest in global events and combating news fatigue are ongoing concerns for media companies.


As the industry navigates these challenges, there are inspiring examples of news organisations adapting to the new landscape. Embracing AI while managing its risks will be the underlying narrative of the year ahead.


The report serves as a valuable resource for journalists, news organisations, and industry professionals, providing insights into the trends and predictions shaping the future of journalism in 2024


 

  • A report by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism highlights the challenges and opportunities facing journalism in 2024.

  • Only 47% of news leaders express confidence in the future of journalism, citing rising costs, declining advertising revenue, and increasing harassment as concerns.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to have a significant impact on the industry, both in content creation and distribution.

  • Publishers are exploring strategies to build direct relationships with audiences, investing in platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram.

  • News organisations are diversifying content formats, producing more video content, newsletters, and podcasts.

  • Selective news avoidance and news fatigue remain challenges for media companies.

  • The research emphasises the need for journalists and news organisations to adapt, embrace new technologies, and engage audiences in innovative ways.


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