It might seem strange now, but it wasn’t very long ago that traditional media did not do much in order to reach out to the audience through journalist blogs and other means. RSS feeds is also a feature that most media outlets have not used for more than a few years. Back in 2005, this blog had more incoming links that the website of Göteborgs-Posten (159 vs 134 for www.gp.se), the largest daily in Sweden’s second town. TV4.se had the same amount of incoming links as my blog had, according to Technorati. In 2005, Sweden’s largest daily Dagens Industri didn’t even keep links to online articles for more than a few weeks or months. This is what I wrote in January 2005.
“Links to articles on its web site di.se, disappear soon after they have been published. A search on Google for a random word like “Tallinn” on di.se gives us only 11 hits, and the first article in the list (hit #5 in Google) is from April 2004, and it’s a dead link. This message is a common greating on di.se (“the page has changed address”).”
Today, the situation is entirely different. Any media worth its salt has a number of blogs and invite the audience to participate in the news process. Media link to comments on Twitter and some journalists even ask for news tips on Twitter. The list can be made much longer. Much of the commentary on blogs today revolve around news stories in traditional media, although there is also a significant portion of the online discussion that is entirely separate from the old media model. If we look at the number of incoming blog links today, this blog has 522 but TV4.se has 2,855 and www.gp.se has 5,381.
And more will come. There was an interesting article yesterday on E24.no about the future of traditional media. Gunn Enli is a media researcher at the University of Oslo. She has some good quotes about how media will invite the audience in the news process.
“There has been a media revolution that we can no longer ignore. We have become so accustomed to be invited to participate and to express ourselves that it is not possible to lock those channels again,” Enli says.
Espen Egil Hansen, the responsible editor at VG Nett agrees. He says:
“The control culture in locked rooms is gone. The times when you could be a journalist alone in your office and be brilliant is over. Either you communicate with the world around you or you die.”
Both NRK and VG will introduce more participatory features in the near future.
“We will take functionality from for example Facebook or Nettby and build it into the editorial products,” Hansen said about the plans for VG Nett the coming six months.