To this day, many newsrooms are unable to step into the future as they are stuck in the news cycle and struggling with shrinking resources. This is where Startups for News steps in. Their competition helps to identify the young startups that will help news organisations step into the future.
We dig into their latest report to review the current state of journalism and which up-and-coming startups will pave the way for newsrooms in 2018.
A ‘Global Survey on Journalism’s Futures conducted by Amy Webb shows that newsroom staff between the ages of 44 and 64 tend to be ‘nowists’. This means that they think about the immediate future and the near-future rather than the long-term. This is problematic as they tend to be those managers who are making strategic and operational decisions that directly affect their companies as well as the future sustainability of news.
‘If you keep procrastinating and putting off planning for it, the future shows up and you won’t have had any part in creating the reality that you now have to deal with’ – Amy Webb
What further exacerbates this problem is that experimenting with up-and-coming technology is difficult for the many newsrooms that lack technical staff. The International Center for Journalists launched the first-ever global survey on the adoption of new technologies in news media.
This survey received responses from more than 2,700 newsroom managers and journalists from over 130 countries. The results are shocking – only 5% of newsroom employees have degrees in technology fields and only 2% of the news organisations surveyed employ technologists.
For newsrooms, building their own tech is time consuming and resource intensive. Most newsrooms are forced to ask themselves if it is really worth the effort. If every newsroom were to create its own technologies, we’d most likely be left with a multitude of almost-identical, half-baked products. This is why collaboration between startups and newsrooms is critical.
Interesting startups that can solve those problems exist but they’re easy to miss because they lack visibility. What’s more, there are startups out there who try to sell-off low-grade products to newsrooms.
The mission of Startups for News, GEN’s annual startups competition run in partnership with Journalism.co.uk, is to help newsrooms make the best decisions to step into the future. They look beyond the pitch to identify the young startups that will help news organisations produce, distribute, and monetise quality journalism.
For the 2017 season, their eligibility criteria were strict. They were looking for:
This is not to mention the even stricter selection criteria including a commitment and capacity to foster quality journalism, empowering local journalism with artificial intelligence and more.
Despite the strict criteria, they received almost 100 eligible applications from over 35 countries across the world. A jury of editors and media experts presided over by Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, selected 30 promising startups. These include visual and interactive journalism startups such as Flourish, Mobile Journalism startups such as BIGVU, Artificial Intelligence startups like Intellogo and many more.
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