By Richard Henderson
Everybody seems to have an opinion on whether journalism is enjoying steady growth or sharp decline, and the big question, where to from here. But amongst all these calls for a new business model for journalism, I don’t think things will change in any drastic fashion, but follow an even trajectory.
Emperor Rupert may have claimed the iPad to be the miraculous ‘game changer’ the world was waiting for…but really it’s just an easy-to-carry computer. Yes, yes, I realise some are capable of using the internet over 3G networks, but by and large, use of the iPad sits somewhere in the middle of the home/office computer and a smartphone.
When the internet came to prominence in the early noughties people claimed that books would stop being printed, but this clearly hasn’t occured, instead book sales have grown from further exposure to conversations happening on the web.
I see the future of news in a similar fashion – journalism won’t die, but it will change. It’ll all go online, and the technology will slowly advance, a few more new devices per year, each with one more feature than the last, as computers and mobile phones have moved forward. Step by step, all our technology will be centralised into one device, which will be our radio, our television, our personal computer, and telephone.
It’ll have some cute edgy-yet-catchy name, like wobylong. Apple may even introduce an iWobylong to be the market leader. It will not have a screen, but a miniscule set of LED lights, a quarter of a fingernail in size, which will be constantly fixed just before our retina to transmit an image directly to our brain. A micro earpiece will sit inside our inner-ear giving us sound. The device may not even be visable. It may be implanted into our wrists linking up to servers via an advanced 3G-style network, which will operate everything via cloud software.
In ten years time the news orgs we know today will have amalgamated every which way, and television stations will merge with radio stations and newspapers to create centralised hubs, with the same news available across a range of platforms. Indeed, this has already begun. Successful online subscriber news services like Crikey and MalaysiaKini will have daily TV bulletins.
As Gil Scott Heron once said ‘Unfortunately the world will not end….It will keep going and going and going,’ and so to will journalism, hopefully in new and interesting ways.