What are the challenges and opportunities for news media in a changing news environment?
In a new report written for the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Media and Information Society a team from the Reuters Institute led by Director of Research Rasmus Kleis Nielsen has reviewed challenges and opportunities for news media and journalism in today’s changing media environment.
The report documents how the move to an increasingly digital, mobile, and social media environment mean that internet users have access to more and more information from more and more sources, increasing the opportunities most people have to use diverse sources and encounter different perspectives. At the same time, the media environment is increasingly characterized by the rise of a limited number of very large technology companies that capture a large share of attention and advertising and are increasingly central to the distribution of news and by consolidation and cost-cutting elsewhere in the media landscape.
There are important variations from country to country in how these developments are playing out, but generally, the report suggest they can over time reduce media pluralism by undermining the diversity of news production (especially in terms of local journalism and some areas of specialized journalism), even as it becomes easier and easier for most people to access news from more and more sources.
The move to an increasingly digital, mobile, and social media environment also means that forms of policy intervention developed in and designed for twentieth century media environments will need reform to be effective and efficient in twenty-first century media environments.
This is particular important when it comes to (1) effectively addressing potential market failures in the production of the public good of independent, professional, quality journalism, (2) securing an efficient and competitive media market place enabling both private sector, public, and non-profit media, and (3) ensuring that citizens develop the media and information literacy necessary to navigate the media environment effectively in their own best interest.