Journalism in the Digital Storm

Written by: Bianca Manelli, Chantal Cocherová, Georgios Evgenidis, Jiahuan He, Lara Corrado, Suhasni Midha, Yuliia Hladka, Zeynep Atilgan Ozgenc, Luciano Morganti & Heritiana Ranaivoson

What is news? What makes somebody a journalist? In the era of social media and blogs, the answers to these questions are not as clear as they were 10 years ago. With professional journalism still struggling to work through the digitalization of media, the rise of citizen journalism challenges the definition of both news and journalist.

With a few tools at disposal, a smartphone and a taste for news, an internet connection, a Twitter account and a good bunch of followers, if somebody tweets from a social movement, a demonstration or a fire, they can make an online trend. But, does any reported information qualify as news? Does this tweeting activity make them journalists?

According to the American Press Institute, journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. Following this general definition, anyone with a smartphone and social media account could technically do journalistic activities.

Is this definition sufficient to capture journalism? In the digital era, journalism needs to be redefined in order to account for how news and journalist as a profession have evolved in the last years.

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Robot Journalism – We should not be afraid

Robot journalism or automation is becoming an important part of news production. It speeds up news production and generates a vast amount of content in a matter of sector to be distributed and consumed in print and online. However, we know little about how news automation work and its implication on ethics and quality of journalism, as well as the impact on human journalists.

These questions were explored in a workshop organized by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) within the framework of the Media Road project on 5 June in Lisbon, Portugal. The workshop was attended by around 40 participants from across Europe, including journalists, academics, media and journalists’ representatives.

Experts on robot journalism, journalists, developers, media managers and academics participated in the three panels discussion focusing on: the production and application of robot journalism, the impact on the working conditions of journalists and the ethical issues surrounding robot journalism.

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