Our interview with London-based journalist and academic Mercedes Bunz continues with the second and last part. Here we ask her more about the way the Internet is shaping the future of journalism.
I think your take on the technological turn of journalism is very interesting: feeds, automatic articles, all of these technologies might change what a journalist actually is. How do you envision the profession will become in the future?
Journalism will definitely become more automatized, but a good story will remain a good story. And research isn’t just a question of automatization, but also of knowing what to look for. I think being a journalist and using digital tools can’t be divided anymore. It will become a normal part of the profession.
As a contributor to established yet tech-savvy publications like The Guardian, how do you feel the new media journalism debate is perceived? Is it becoming more and more of a popular concern?
Not just the bigger news organizations, but also the smaller ones have understood that the internet won’t go away, and started to embrace digital technology. New media journalism is more and more simply: journalism. I think that is good.
How do you feel about citizen journalism? Do you think the democratization brought by social media is benefitting the quality of information? Are there any downsides?
With the internet, citizen journalism became more of a part of traditional journalism. On the other hand journalism in general is what we all do more and more – I think we can say by now that we do live in a publishing society. But we shouldn’t forget: Just because a platform is there, it isn’t used, or used in a right way. Like a garden needs a gardener, a crowd needs someone that produces it. It isn’t simply there. Crowd-sourcing needs a lot of effort, and it has to be taken really seriously. Ushahidi.com does a great job here, for example.
In between citizens and professional journalists there is a multitude of part-time digital journalists, figures that weren’t really possible before the Internet. How do you feel the Internet can help shape up future (economically-sustainable) careers?
I think the Internet is a normal tool. It isn’t good or bad, but what we make of it. So I don’t really feel it can help to shape the future. It is upon the people to use it in that way – do you know what I mean? Like … It helps some people to make a lot of money, and it automatizes other work flows. For sure, the government is as responsible to create economically sustainable careers as the Internet. What do you think, who does the better job at the moment?