Rewired: the future of journalism is online

You couldn’t move for TweetDecks and iPhones at City University yesterday for the news:rewired conference.

Having relaunched Hit the North over Christmas, I was there to hear the speakers speculate on the future of journalism and ponder how I’ll apply these ideas to my own travel writing.

Overall, there was a lot of talk but not many conclusions from the day. Travel was poorly represented with just @coastmag and @timestravel joining me on the delegate list.


Fast evolving

A few common themes did crop up consistently throughout the day. Firstly, the media all changing so fast that nobody really seems to know where it’s heading.

In the words of Kevin Marsh of the BBC College of Journalism, “If you think you’ve got the answer, then you didn’t understand the question.”

His advice: “Accept the mindset you need to relearn; cruise and surf to find the best; think about what you do well and extract the value of new skills.”

A good story

The other recurring motif is the need for quality content. In other words, while the technology can facilitate new ways of presenting information, technical skill is no replacement for a well-written story with a strong angle, compelling characters and direct speech.

Multi-media journalist @adamwestbrook spoke of finding the narrative arc in an audio slideshow, while radio expert @newsleader advised to understand how each platform enriches the story telling and use it to the best advantage.

The last word

Wrapping up, Greg Hadfield, the recently departed head of digital media at, says “Newspapers are about to die in one sense. The future is about trying to build a new breed of journalism. You cannot be a good journalist now without being an entrepreneur.”

There’s an audioBoo extract of his talk here.

The next move

So, where does all this leave Hit the North? Making my own way through the ever-changing landscape and learning as I go.

Expect more experimentation on this site and join me on the ride into the unknown.

* You can follow more of the discussion on Twitter at #newsrw.

* There’s an update on the Hadfield story here.

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