ShareThis Page

Journalism & accelerating technology

| Saturday, July 22, 2017, 7:15 p.m.
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook discusses the iPhone during an Apple media event in San Francisco, Sept. 7, 2016.
REUTERS
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook discusses the iPhone during an Apple media event in San Francisco, Sept. 7, 2016.

Just for fun, I recently created a video of my beach vacation, posted it to Facebook and shared it with the world.

The entire production process took about 30 seconds and I reached hundreds of my “friends” online.

Doing the same thing 20 years ago, when I was in journalism school, would have taken far longer, moving images from one analog tape to another with a large and expensive editing bay. Sharing my work with the world? Almost impossible.

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone this summer , it's worth taking some time to reflect on how quickly our world keeps changing — and considering whether we're capable of keeping up.

Back in 2007, Sree Sreenivasan, who is now the chief digital officer for New York City, was asked to predict the technology we would be using today .

He started out by compiling a list of all the technology that did not exist even 10 years before that. The list included a number of innovations that most of us could not live without today — GPS, HDTV, text messaging, cable modems, Google, Facebook, USB flash drives, Xbox. It also featured some that few people would consider essential today, such as Myspace.

Without being too specific, Sreenivasan came pretty close to identifying where we are: “What I do know is that technology will continue to get cheaper, faster and better in the years ahead. But with that will come more dangers — from cybercrime to loss of privacy.”

What's truly frightening is that 2007 might have been just the tipping point for technological accelerations.

Rapid change affects the ways we consume news and information, how we interact, our use of natural resources and the broad reach of individual humans. We can use that change for better or worse, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman points out in his November 2016 book, “Thank You for Being Late.”

“What one person — one single, solitary person — can now do constructively and destructively is also being multiplied to a new level,” Friedman writes.

For journalists and media consumers, these exponential growths should be inspiring. The disruptions obviously are painful — in job losses, particularly. But this period of journalism also holds great potential for the future.

One could argue that we sit on the cusp of journalism's greatest age, as Peter Herford, one of my former journalism professors at Columbia University, recently posted on Facebook.

“There is more investigative journalism being practiced today than ever before,” he said, “yes with fewer resources than when the behemoths of journalism were at work, but collectives, cooperatives and the worldwide reach of the internet and social media have multiplied the power of journalists.”

Mistakes will be made, and not every news outlet will find success.

We still need to find ways for journalists to make money.

Undoubtedly, the end product will look different than it has for the past half-century.

But journalism today reaches more audiences, engages them in meaningful new ways and has more impact than ever.

Andrew Conte is the director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.