The decision by several major media outlets to place content behind paywalls resulted in widespread public outrage. Online readers were quick to condemn the move, believing the news outlets were simply trying to squeeze revenue out of its audience. But in a changing news ecosystem where the average Joe can break the latest news on Twitter, the journalism industry is under threat.
With the advent of citizen journalism, online information has never been easier to find, or publish. In addition, social media offers the ability to constantly update the story without much effort, whereas the traditional news article can become outdated very quickly. If the most up-to-date information is freely available on Twitter, who in their right mind is going to pay for traditional newspaper content that is hidden behind a paywall?
In order to remain relevant, journalism needs to further embrace multimedia and the changing ecosystem, combining the live feed capabilities of social media, photos, videos and slideshows with the traditional format.
Furthermore, these mediums need to be used by the traditional media to provide a link between the different elements of an ongoing story. At present, the traditional article provides little or no feel for what has happened in the lead up to the current event. This creates a situation in which the market for the current story is limited only to those who have followed the story in its entirety.
Contrastingly, citizen journalism and blog sites are blessed with the ability to break the story down, drawing out the components that are most relevant to their audience. The reality is that the mainstream media will never be able to compete in this area, due to the fact that they are required to cater for the general population, resulting in a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the news.