The media and communications industry has traditionally consisted of the people who were at the cutting edge of information technology - those who could broadcast to the biggest audience. In turn, these people hired talented individuals who could develop the content that was broadcast. The entire industry was structured around the assumption that, in order to physically reach any significant sized audience, you had to have access to technology that was too expensive for the vast majority of individuals to own.

This situation has fundamentally changed. Now, anyone with an internet connection and a computer can broadcast to practically the entire world. In a lot of ways, this is an amazing thing, but we shouldn't ignore the unique global challenges that come with it.

1) Who will fund someone to travel around the world to report? A global voice worth listening to should come from someone with a global perspective. No amount of research can truly replace the experience of being abroad and experiencing a different culture, talking to people on the ground and relaying the facts back to their home audience in terms they can understand.

2) Can editorial media survive? Anyone can voice their opinion now, but it takes an experienced and funded team to come up with valuable content, based on research rather than simply opinion. Large media corporations will slowly shift away from editorialism and start to compete based on the quality of their content, rather than the size of their technical apparatuses.

3) How will the market ensure that quality content is paid for? Now, the online world is mostly monetized through advertisements, but I think you'll start to see a lot of the major news outlets slowly find new profit mechanisms, because it is easy for anyone to re-post an article without driving traffic (and the resulting advertising dollars) back to the original publisher. Another possible trend could be tightening up intellectual property laws, with a focus on more strict enforcement. In order for such measures to be even mildly successful, there would also have to be international agreements, because the internet is a decentralized, global community.

These are a few of the issues that need to be tackled in order for the media and communications industry to stabilize, and come to terms with the new dynamics of a world in which almost anyone can instantly publish to an audience of almost everyone.

Share this article