Intelligence

Communications Ten Years Later

Caroline Andrews

Graduate Associate

This month, story after story looks at how America has changed in the decade since the Great Financial Crisis, and how we will prepare for the next ten years. These retrospectives fill every cable news network, online magazine, podcasts, and more; we’ve even spent a great deal of time covering the anniversary on our very own Vested blog (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). The bulk of the coverage focuses on how the financial landscape has shifted – or not – since the credit default crisis. But, finance isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Our relationship with journalism and media itself has fundamentally changed over the last decade.

We wrote before about how many of our peers use social media as a tool to access news – 90% of GenY and Zers rely on some social channel to feed them stories. Facebook and Twitter are the most popular channels. Ten years ago, Twitter was just taking off, and its popularity fundamentally shifted the way journalists pitched, reported and promoted news. This means journalists hope not only to give readers the information they want but also present it in a way so it’ll appear on the top of newsfeeds and stand out among the overwhelming amount of media sent our way every day.

This increase both in the quantity and speed of information is a key marker of modern news consumption. This can mean great things for the democratization of information, but it can make it harder for credible news to stand out, and over the years this has meant misinformation, mistrust and the ongoing 2016 – now fight against #fakenews.

As journalists face challenges to increase their quantity of coverage and maintain credibility, their simultaneously facing other pressures: pink slips, diminishing staffs, stagnating pay, and other cost-cutting, and the movement to freelancers (publications don’t have to pay their benefits). A telling data point? In 2007, Journalism.com found that there were 73,810 newsroom employees across the country. In 2017, this number was down to 39,210.

But, the technology that has enabled our current news consumption can also be used to empower the newsroom. As our CEO Dan wrote, artificial intelligence-empowered technology like the Washington Post’s Heliograf can help make sure readers are getting the data-driven stories as fast as possible, while also freeing up time for journalists to focus on the long-form, investigative reporting. At the same time, technologies and networks like Qwoted enable reporters to connect with experts quickly and directly to ensure their stories will always have the credibility and variety they need.

While we are unsure what the next ten years will hold for communications, technology will continue to play a key role.  And all those with interact with media — whether consuming it or, like us, seeking to drive it – will adapt and evolve with it.

My colleague (and fellow Vested graduate) Noah Tager designed the enclosed infographic, which illustrates how finance and communications have changed these past ten years. Be sure to check it out, and share across whatever communications and social platforms you think most worthwhile.

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