Towards a sustainable model of journalism innovation in an era of perpetual change

Julie Posetti, senior research fellow at the Reuters Institute, asks whether the news industry has become too obsessed with technological innovation in the absence of clear, research-informed strategies.

By Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Time to step away from the ‘bright, shiny things’?

The news industry has a focus problem. ‘Shiny Things Syndrome’ – obsessive pursuit of technology in the absence of clear and research-informed strategies – is the diagnosis offered by participants in this research. The cure suggested involves a conscious shift by news publishers from being technology-led, to audience-focused and technology-empowered.

The main finding of this research is that relentless, high-speed pursuit of technology-driven innovation could be almost as dangerous as stagnation. While ‘random acts of innovation’, organic experimentation, and willingness to embrace new technology remain valuable features of an innovation culture, there is evidence of an increasingly urgent requirement for the cultivation of sustainable innovation frameworks and clear, longer-term strategies within news organizations.