The news industry is in the grip of “Shiny Things Syndrome,” an obsessive pursuit of tech along with a lack of a clear strategy, a new study says.
The “relentless high-speed pursuit of technology-driven innovation could be almost as dangerous as stagnation,” says the study, titled “Time to step away from the ‘bright, shiny things’? Towards a sustainable model of journalism innovation in an era of perpetual change.”
The research comes from the Journalism Innovation Project at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. Julie Posetti, leader of the Journalism Innovation Project, authored the study. Posetti had worked as head of digital editorial capability at Fairfax Media (Australia and New Zealand) and held reporting roles with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.used and technology-empowered.”
The study emerged from discussions with 39 global journalism innovators representing 27 news publishers across 17 countries, the study says.
The study counsels against abandoning innovation altogether, acknowledging that innovation has been essential in journalism’s digital transformation. It casts itself as “a plea to avoid unsustainable approaches to innovation that fail to take account of potentially negative impacts — approaches that risk wasting time, effort, and money, without real returns.” It also warns of innovation fatigue and cites a need for more consideration of the unintended consequences of tech innovation, such as gendered online harassment and viral disinformation.
Highlighting recent tech trends and buzz words, such as artifi cial Intelligence, voice journalism, virtual reality, and blockchain, the study said many participants wanted to “slow down” in the face of change fatigue and haphazard approaches to innovation.
Others didn’t share that desire; smaller, digitalborn news publishers indicated that they don’t have time to slow down if they are to survive, the study said.