Panel TA10: “Content is the king and context is the queen; together they rule”

Published on by Raquel Pérez (author)

Journalism is not the same as it was before the irruption of social media or technological improvements. Panel TA10 was focused on the whole change of content, a conjuncture in which the journalistic profession is still adapting itself to the new media flow, experimental changes of roles in newsrooms and the introduction of algorithms in the production of news.

The first approach to this changes was professor’s Lars Kabel (Danish School of Media and Journalism) one, a presentation on how the flows of content are now the core in converged newsrooms. According to his research, this new media flow has changed the journalistic routines: Journalism is no longer an individualized work and has turned into a team effort, which results in the need of flow managers –some professionals that plan how to suit a common content to different platforms–.

Kabel concluded its speech with the suggestion on a 10-tip method for stories to “survive” the media flow process. Between them, he highlighted the idea of deconstructing the main article into smaller pieces –such as the wellknown “Snowfall” did–, or to feed the market up. “The flow is hungry and you have to feed it” remarked the professor in order to illustrate how we have to be prepared to continuously produce contents. However, despite all the changes, Kabel referred to content as the most important issue for Journalism: “content is the king and context is the queen; together they rule”.

This theoretical approach to the profession’s changes was soon followed by a more practical example. Professor Ralf Andersson (University of Southern Denmark) presented a project on new newsrooms that he had implemented in the Danish national broadcast TV. The experiment consisted in a split between the figure of the live reporter –which centers on gathering content and recording many stories a day- and the media specialists –that centers on home editing the contents-.

A change in the work flow that benefits the newsrooms with the use of less resources, the increase in the number of locations or events to cover, more flexibility and the capacity to make quick decisions close to deadlines. But this better use and exploitation of resources also resulted in a decline in the quality, originality and diversity of the news contents, plus it negatively affected the journalist’s pride.

The last presentation of the session was in charge of Konstantin Dörr (University of Zurich), who introduced the assistants to its exploration on algorithmic Journalism. As stated by the researcher, algorithms can both be tools for predictions or content creators. This last function is gradually being adopted by media outlets like AP, as it reduces transaction costs, “frees journalists from boring duties they have to do”, generates content in various languages and perfectly fits in niche markets.

However, Dörr pointed out that algorithm Journalism is not at the top of its potential: “nowadays this observation of society is possible, but only within special domains like sports or finances”, stated the researcher. With the arrival of the discussion period, Dörr was asked about the intellectual property of this algorithm pieces of news. Who’s the author of the texts? The technology or the media organization that buys the content? A set of questions that still don’t have a universal answer and that, according to what the panel’s audience opinionated, could also be extended to other collaborative works like professor Andersson’s newsrooms. 

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