How I see the future of the journalism industry

Increase of social media presence and improvements in technology will lead to more diverse news

Between mass layoffs and ditching print copies, it can feel like the news industry is shrinking. (Claudia Culley)

Between mass layoffs and ditching print copies, it can feel like the news industry is shrinking. (Claudia Culley)

One way or another, everything will eventually undergo massive changes — the journalism world is no exception. We are seeing the industry go through radical changes in Canada as we head further into the digital era. 

CBC/Radio-Canada announced 600 employees across the country will be laid off at the start of the fiscal year. Last August, the New Westminster Record, Tri-City News, and the Burnaby Now transferred to digital-only platforms.

As technology improves and social media becomes more integrated into daily life, news organizations have had to adapt to these circumstances. An example of this is the Canadian government’s The Online News Act, which came into full effect on Dec. 19 and requires social media giants to compensate news businesses for sharing their journalism. However, the implementation of this act has led Meta to block all Canadian news stories from appearing in users’ feeds. 

While I’m sure my thoughts aren’t exactly unique, the following are what I think will likely happen to the journalism industry in the future. 

With social media and technology making news easier to share, in spite of The Online News Act, I expect more news stories to be published frequently online than printed in newspapers. 

At least for news organizations in Canada, I can see newsletters being a more common method of sharing news for people looking to stay updated on what’s happening. One familiar example is The Runner, who started a bi-weekly newsletter readers can sign up for on their website after The Online News Act was implemented. 

However, I don’t expect printed news to go away completely as I’m sure there is always going to be an audience consuming news that way. As a ballpark estimate, I can see 60 per cent of news be online-only, 10 per cent be print-only, and 30 per cent be in both forms. 

On the topic of CBC employees being laid off, this leads to the question of how people in the industry will find work. As a result of bigger news organizations like the CBC having fewer spots open for those looking for work, I can see a rise in freelancing. 

Much like how people use social media to showcase their talents, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see more journalists writing their own work and showing it to any news organizations if they’re interested in publishing it. 

With less opportunities to showcase their work with a recognizable name in the industry, working solo could be a more common occurrence for those just starting. 

This is especially true for those who have niche interests in what they would like to cover with their skillset. It’s been something I’ve considered myself since I would like to cover competitive video game events as regular work, which is definitely a niche area for news coverage. 

If not freelancing, I can see more journalists going to smaller or more hyper-localized news organizations for work. I’ve already heard about people who have moved away to different, more remote communities to find work and have managed to stay occupied. I don’t know if I would do it myself since I’ve always enjoyed big city life, but I’m always keeping my options open.

However, if more small and local news organizations start up or receive more help, I can see less general news be covered as a result. In its place would be more news specialized from the local area and with an increase in both quantity and quality. 

That’s how I predict the journalism industry will change and evolve, but it’s best, and inevitable, to watch it all play out over time.