There is an interesting article in the The Guardian newspaper in the UK today. How TV news failed to keep up in 2016.
In it Stuart Jeffries highlights the shift in audiences for news. Under 40s, he argues, are already abandoning TV news in favour of social media. He also suggests that older audiences are also moving away.
If Jeffries is correct (and I think that he is) then it raises a number of questions. There is a debate running at the moment about the reliability and veracity of much of the news that appears on social media. Both Facebook and Google are considering how to tackle false news distributed to shift public opinion. Professional media outlets mostly fact-check and discard dishonest content or at least challenge it but so far social media and espoused a freedom of speech ideal and chosen not to intervene even when content distributed via these fora are palpably untrue.
It seems that radio may have a place in this to maintain audiences and provide reliable and trust-worthy content. Radio still attracts audiences for news albeit not so much amongst younger audiences.
Off the back of on-air news services there is real scope to provide truthful and reliable reporting distributed via social media. I’m waiting to find someone who does it well. I’m pretty sure that it will demand creativity and the ability to think outside the normal structures and models of radio that we have been used to. It will mean that trainers need to be able to think equally well outside the old models.
First prize to the station that discovers how to do this well!