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Rethinking the Future of Broadcast

— Kasia Hall 

What is the future of broadcast journalism?

This question can spike anxiety levels among reporters, editors and producers. Understandably so, because how do you reinvent an entire industry while still hanging onto the original vision?

It’s no secret that the news business is hurting, and many are grappling with how to connect with audiences in a landscape that changes faster by the minute. But let’s not forget how powerful broadcast journalism is. Images, audio and video are extremely influential, having the power to strike that emotional cord within us — the part that causes our insides to turn into knots or butterflies or make our hearts smile.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in print, digital or broadcast — experimentation is becoming far more than just an extra addition for news organizations. It’s becoming a requirement for survival for communicators in today’s noisy landscape.

And that’s just as well since the broadcast industry has never remained static. In previous years, we’ve thought we’d seen it all with case studies, interviews, live action, animation, minidocumentaries and Vines, but change is a constant and our list of digital tools is always growing.

Media analysts are curious about what will happen for the professional podcast industry. Is this the year it will earn its place in the media big leagues? Will it spawn a complete regime change in the audio landscape?

It very well could.  Podcasting is at an all-time high, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. From the New York Times to the New Yorker, there are new collaborations between traditional print publications and NPR member stations. General Electric saw success in the podcast world when co-producing The Message. A million-plus listeners pushed the series into the No. 1 podcast slot in November. Other major brands like Marriott and IBM are also dipping their toes into the water.

Meanwhile in video, drones have drummed up a certain amount of hype, especially after a local TV station put live footage from drones into a news broadcast.The technology is cheap, simple and a potential game-changer for newsrooms.Will this technology help transform storytelling?On-the-go TV and interactive apps are helping stations evolve content for today’s audience. Joe Weisenthal, host of Bloomberg’s “What’d you miss?” said he views TV more as a source of content for online video.

In other words, we’ve seen a flurry of tactics from the industry, and some may stick around and some may fall by the wayside. But, so what? Where does that leave us, and what’s the future of broadcast journalism? Unfortunately, there are no direct answers, but the evolution continues — stay tuned.