Am 20. + 21. November geht der VDZ Tech Summit in die sechste Runde und es warten 25+ hochkarätige Speaker mit Vorträgen zu aktuellen Trends und Best Cases aus der Branche. Im Interview mit Ole Petter Pedersen von Kommunal Rapport, spricht er über technologische Trends und wo er Veränderungen und Bedenken sieht.
What are you looking forward to at the Tech Summit?
I am certainly looking forward to hearing the other speakers and catch up on interesting trends. As I come from a journalistic background, it is important to listen to more tech savvy people in the industry to try to keep up with the latest trends and technologies.
Blockchain, Machine Learning, Automated Journalism – what should publishers place their focus on?
I think so far blockchain is interesting, but probably too complex for executives to really understand. Maybe it’s good but maybe it’s just another Beta vs VHS? Is it something we will vaguely remember in 20 years’ time? I don’t know, to be honest. For me, automation is the area where we really need to step up and start delivering solid stuff over a period of time. Sure, there are a lot of bots but many projects either seem small or not really replicable, which is what automation should be all about. Of course, machine-learning is very interesting; for me, particularly as a research tool – e.g. being able to analyse loads of documents quickly – but to produce journalistic content for publication, I think we need to consider the ethical prospects; which are different for an outcome produced by a machine-learning algorithm rather than an automated process where the journalist directly controls the output. For me, anyway, that is a distinct difference between machine-learning and automation.
What structural changes are necessary for publishing houses/journalism?
Probably loads! I think a lot of us have been really good at taking the first steps into the digital world. But particularly for publishers who arose on paper, the really, really big step remains: Leaving paper for good. Of course, we will have journalistic output on paper in the future but I cannot see anyone wanting to read news on paper. It is too slow to distribute and, for the publishing houses, too costly in the long run. So, we need an active strategy on how to move most of the revenue stream to digital, and I think that requires structural change as well as cultural. We need to spend time evolving digital journalism – away from the inverted pyramid – and create new journalistic formats that appeal to the user. I think we need journalists who understand that their job is so much more than it used to be, but who also embrace that they have tools which make their job so much easier in many ways (at least for us run of the mill journalists based in safe countries doing jobs where we risk little). To me, I think we are at the end of the beginning of the digital awakening. We have established well running digital operations. Now we need to leave paper behind for good.