Meeting the challenge new technology brings

There is a feeling of great change in the air.

Not just at this magazine, which is about to get a new owner. But in the news industry as a whole.

executives in most sectors are sniffing the air with a peculiar mixture
of uncertainty and enthusiasm – even if they find it hard to put into
exact words what form that change might take. Or precisely what it
might mean for their businesses.

In each case, advances in
technology are behind the suspense. Whether it’s news broadcasters
concerned about getting their bulletins onto mobile devices or
newspaper publishers trying to calculate the effect of classified
advertising’s migration online, the challenges are vast and the stakes

This is not just true for business brains. It’s true for journalists too. And the pace of it can be breathtaking.

the Microsoft House. For the past couple of months, the company has
been showing media people around a Victorian house in north London that
has been kitted out with a dazzling array of digital gadgetry. At the
heart of it is the Windows Media Centre – touted as the big thing for
Christmas – which combines the PC, television and music centre into one
box operated by a single remote control.

The internet is firmly in the living room.

of its media partners is Reuters, which has seen the opportunity for
getting its news content directly to the public – rather than through
the intermediary of a traditional broadcaster. Viewers can even choose
to watch raw, unedited, unpackaged news feeds from Reuters camera crews.

It’s one example of how technology is affecting the way the public consumes its news.

as the feature on page 22 demonstrates, internet technology in
particular has the potential to have a fundamental impact on the entire
newsgathering process. Even, if certain theories are to be believed,
the entire existence of the professional journalist. Blogging, citizen
journalism and “open source” news projects are springing up all over
the world. Some, like OhmyNews in South Korea, are already
astonishingly successful.

They’re forcing editors as well as their bosses to evaluate some of their most basic precepts.

good news is that history shows how well journalism tends to adapt and
survive. It’s no coincidence that the news organisation involved in the
Microsoft House – Reuters – has been around for more than a century and
a half.

The one constant in its history has been change.

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