Journalism Has a Focus Problem: How to Combat Shiny Things Syndrome
“This is a permanent process of change, but I feel a great desire for resting.”
Journalism has become too obsessed with technology-led innovation and must refocus on strategic approaches to storytelling, audience engagement and business development, according to my new report for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
The report, “Time to step away from the ‘bright, shiny things’? Towards a sustainable model of journalism innovation in an era of perpetual change,” is the first research published from the Journalism Innovation Project, which I lead at the University of Oxford. (The Project is funded by the Facebook Journalism Project.)
According to this research, journalism has a focus problem. Unsurprising, you might say, given the convergent crises confronting the news business, including financial desperation that can drive defensive and reactive innovation. This problem was diagnosed as “Shiny Things Syndrome” by U.S. digital-born journalism veteran Kim Bui, who said it “takes away from storytelling, and we risk forgetting who we are. That’s the biggest challenge.”
Julie Posetti, writing for Nieman Journalism Lab, calls for newsrooms to slow down, take a more measured, strategic approach to change.