What can professional journalists bring to the table – part #2


Excellent crowd sourcing gave Expressen journalist a story in a few minutes. Done and published. Added value to their readers. But next time…? I doubt.
I happened to be at  Kungliga Dramaten in Stockholm tonight, to enjoy the theater production “Tre herrars tjänare” with the protagonist Morgan Alling. Great Show… until Morgan suddenly run off the stage to vomit. Well we didn’t know until someone told us. A man from the back stage told the audience that Morgan felt a bit dizzy and it was time for a short pause.But the pause became for quite a while and later people in charge informed us that the show has to be stopped due to Morgans illness. Some said that he went to hospital for examination.Shit happens. But not the end of the story…
I checked in at Foursquare and told my network about the drama. And some of them wonder what’s happening. One of them was a friend and former Expressen employed, who also send me a sms.
He forwarded the tweet to his former colleagues at Expressen, who immediately tried to reach me, including over phone. A few minutes later he got my side of the story. As far as I could understand, he (or her ? because the story in Expressen were written by Marit Sundberg) also get in touch with Dramaten’s press officer, Christina Bjerkander, and got some info and statements from her. The story became short and pretty pointless, but maybe not for their readers?
I’ve got some reflections regarding this specific drama, though.
I guess things like this happens all the time, right? People is sharing their experiences and stories with their friends. A lots of journalists getting better and better at crowd sourcing, after all. They might not be so lazy as the rumour says (personally I’ve never said that journalists are lazy, maybe because I worked my as off as journalist once upon a time). And social media are a must for journalist these days to keep up with the latest.
But – and this is a big BUT –  in the long term I do think journalists in general must add more value than this journalist did in her article, otherwise she’s out of there. In the long term, she won’t be able to compete with the crowd when it comes to deliver stories. When things like this happens, people will tell their side of the story, for an example on twitter with the hashtag #morganalling. That will include the press officer Christina Bjerkander, and even the back stage people, maybe even Morgan himself, on his blog and his Twitter? Because all the info that can be shared – will be shared.  Information that can be digital – will be digital.  Influence indexes and ranking, might edit the story. Your personal magazine will package and distribute it.

This time – it didn’t happened (very few added info to #morgonalling). Maybe not even tomorrow. But sooner or later it will. And by then journalists like Marit Sundberg will got hard time.

What can professional journalists bring to the table?


As citizens we don’t need “journalists”, we need journalism. And journalism is no longer a profession, it’s an activity. An activity that millions of engaged citizens seems to take care of in a much greater extent than ever before. Now days, with help of thousands of web services for researching, editing, packaging, publishing, and distributing.

Still there is people within the industry that claim for the need of professional journalism, among other things, to sustain democracy. If so, I wonder why none is willing to pay for it? Neither consumers nor advertisers or government, as far as I can understand?

As citizens, we would like to know what’s going on, keep ourselves informed. We would like to hear about the latest in the topics we’re interested in. We would like the truth from sources we can rely on. We would like the overview and the details. We want the hard core facts combined with vivid descriptions. And so on.

But we want to express ourselves, as well. Especially in subjects we are engaged and interested in and masters. But we also want share experiences and happenings that just cross our ways or minds, stories we think matters for the neighborhood.

As you well know, the journalists have always been the middleman to meet our needs in this matter, because they’ve been the only ones that got the exclusive opportunities to investigate, refine, edit, produce and distribute stories. And their media have become the gatekeeper or the bottle neck as communication channels. To such an extent that we’ve been prepared (or forced) to pay for it. As consumers or advertisers, each in his special way. But the willingness to pay decreases.

Now days, journalism is a fabulous mix of millions of citizens sharing their experiences and knowledge with each others, via thousands of web services and devices that take care of editing, refining, publishing, packaging and distributing parts, as well. Sometimes in collaboration with professional journalists and media. But mostly not.

The question is what the professional journalists really can bring to the table? And who’s willing to pay for it? No light in the tunnel, what I can see. The news business seems to be broken. And “the owner of the media fumbles in the dark” as Fredrik Strömberg and Jonas Nordling says in Mediavärlden (in Swedish)

A few weeks ago I attend to Berlingske Media international conference about – What Professional Journalism Means for Democracy – as a speaker.

Lisbeth Knudsen, the Chairman of The Berlingske Foundation, wrote in the invitation letter:

For decades, professional journalism has played an important role in our democracies. It still does. But the traditional commercial media business is challenged in its traditional publishing role. The old business model is dead, and the new ones are still not profitable enough to support the same number of professional journalists that the old model could finance.

Being the DNA of our democracy as public watchdogs and creators of the local and national forums for debates, the traditional media business needs to find new ways of financing the expensive part of their business: producing original, investigative, indept journalism.

Can we generate a political debate, political awareness and political involvement on news snacks, news copies and entertainment media?

In Denmark newspapers provide 70% of all original journalism reporting. What are the consequences for our democracy, if professional journalism continues to shrink?

Does it matter at all? How important is quality journalism to our society? Can companies, individuals, institutions, governments, WikiLeaks and others inform us directly? Does our democracy need professional journalistic filtering?

With speakers like Dan Gillmor, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Anne McElvoy – the discussion became truly hot. But we never agreed on whether professional journalists are needed or not.

From my point of view, I’ve hard to believe that Denmark’s newspaper is providing 70% of all original journalism reporting. And I don’t think the traditional media is the DNA of our democracy as public watchdogs. I do think, though, that the wisdom of the crowd are the “new watchdogs”. Or as the New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen says: “the more people who participate in the press, the stronger it will be.

One of millions great example of that is Maria Hägglöfs trip with the subway a couple of days ago.The wagon she were sitting in caught fire, and people got scared. She began to report from the scene; shooting photos and videos, writing tweets, etc.

After some time professional journalists of all kind found her tweets and contacted her. And the story got coverage all over.

No big deal, just crowd source that it use to be, right? But what did surprise Maria was that none of these professional journalists actually brought anything new to the table. Maria wrote in her blog post:

“I would say that if journalists today weren’t so incredibly lazy, if they actually strive to do something more than what I’ve already done….”
“… today’s journalists often don’t do more than what citizens have already done via Twitter.”

Ironically, this happening took place on her way to one of the first unconferences about journalism in Sweden, where one of the topics were about who would pay for the  “professional journalism”.

What happens when journalism is everywhere?” does Mathew Ingram wonder in his post in Gigaom. He writes:

“We are beginning to find out. And while it may be a frightening prospect if you are a traditional media company, there is a lot to be optimistic about if you are just interested in the news. A world where everyone is a journalist may be a bit more chaotic and a bit more complicated than the one we are used to, but it will also be a bit more free, and that is clearly a good thing.” Because: “Freedom of the press becomes a lot more important when everyone is the press — or rather, when the internet itself becomes the press.”

To be continued…

To add… a slice of media history 😉

Google+ page vs Facebook page – the battle has just begun…


The first smoke has died down. But the war has just begun. Page vs Page. Facebook vs Google. Two Superpowers against each others.

In the first place these social networks giants was created for people to connect with people. Or “friends and family” as Facebook use to call it. With their “profiles” as a basis for the communication within the network.

Then the time came for the companies to engage with their target audience. With their “pages” as a basis for their communication. And I guess the battle has just begun.

As far as I can see and understand both of these giants have just ended up into a massive clash! Where the value proposition for their users (as companies, brands, and others) is very much the same.

Of course they both have advantages and disadvantages. The SiliconIndia says for an example:

The greatest benefit of branding products in Google plus will be the link up with search engine. The search engine will track the brands on Google plus pages easily and will bring them to the top list in the search engine. Just typing “+Google” will take the user directly to the company’s profile page.
Facebook has again got something that will affect their market. The like button of Facebook is similar to the +1 button on Google plus. The hangout button is simpler to use when compared to video chat in Facebook with Skype. Now Google plus also going corporate will be a tough completion to Facebook pages.

Well – as I said – the battle has just begun… and I’ll will follow this war with great interest.

Now – I’ve just created my own “Google+ page” and I’m looking forward to see yours, and follow your point of view in this matter. Mashable show you how to get started.