Jarod Lanier is somewhat pessimistic about our digital future. He believes that the rise of the web has led to an erosion of many of the professions we had previously held dear to us. Foremost amongst those is journalism. It's a well trodden argument over the past few years, as publications have struggled to come to terms with the rise of the web, in much the same was as the music industry has struggled. Papers have gone back and forth on the notion of paywalls as a means of monetising the online traffic that is slowly eroding their print businesses.
And what of the journalists themselves? Increasingly we have bloggers churning out content online, much of it for free. Whilst the rise in 'citizen journalism' could very well prove a positive thing for readers in the short term, Lanier argues that in the long-term it's overwhelmingly negative as it drives the profession of journalism into the ground.
Given that context, it's interesting to read the Oriella Digital Journalism Study today. They asked around 550 journalists from around the world how they were responding to the rise of digital, and its impact on their profession. The results are fascinating.
Rather than being concerned about the digital erosion of their profession, the journalists seemed overwhelmingly positive about all things web, in the English speaking world at least. For instance 59% of journalists had Twitter accounts, although this dropped to 33% in Germany. Interestingly however, the number of journalists with a blog fell compared to last year.
There are also interesting geographic trends emerging in the report. Particularly noteworthy is the high level of digital interest amongst French journalists, especially given the ongoing ranglings between French publishers and the likes of Google News.
The report also comes with some telling insights into the future. For instance 20% of those surveyed revealed that citizen journalism (ie the free kind) had as much credibility at their publication as the paid and professional version.
You can access the report here