At the end of the day, the news industry has one primary focus: keeping people up to date on the stories of the moment, providing the best insight into every instance where the reader can't be there themselves. Decades ago, this meant news broke and journalists scrambled to cover it, delivering the key facts, analysis and insight. They told their audiences what they needed to care about and what the journalist thought was important. All of this arrived on your doorstep with the delivery of the morning paper or was squeezed into an hour of local and national news on your TV. Twenty-four hours later it started all over again with the next news cycle.
It was the same when it came to funding the news as well. Advertisers helped keep the printing presses running, the cameras rolling and the organizations profitable (at least moderately).
But while the goals of a news organization remain the same as they were in the heyday of Cronkite and Woodward and Bernstein, revolutionary forces behind the scenes have fundamentally changed the relationship readers have with the news.
As the news moves from ink to pixels and the mobile platform becomes the force to be reckoned with, journalists and the publications that supported them are faced with new challenges that stretch well beyond gathering the top stories of the day. As our digital world expands our options for news based on focus, writing style, perspective and design, publishers are faced with the balancing act of maintaining our reputation as a trusted news source, while developing new incentives in order to engage their readership.
While the negatives have been well documented, this ongoing evolution has also resulted in a major step forward for the future of journalism. It has forced news brands to listen to their audiences and begin a conversation that for so long had been one-sided. After all, the web is open for discussion, shouldn't our journalism be as well?
Readers should feel empowered to not only join the conversation surrounding the news, but also join in the collaborative effort of telling the whole story. Ideas should be shared and photos scoured to find the hidden stories behind the scenes. Not only are our mobile phones a source for us to watch and read the top stories, they're also news-gathering devices that empower citizen journalists to fill in the blanks and provide a comprehensive picture of the news landscape.
The Guardian has faced the challenge of digital innovation head-on in, searching for new ways of engaging in a personal dialogue with our audience. Thanks in part to The Scott Trust's funding, we are able to stay true to our original founding principles of open and challenging journalism.
This new landscape has allowed us to expand upon these principles, opening four new newsrooms and revamping our entire digital operation, giving us the ability to bring stories to life in truly interactive ways and harness the insight provided by our 140 million strong readers worldwide.
While it's impossible to predict what's next, what we do know is that we are operating in a state of continual disruption, where something new is always around the corner. Whether it's the further proliferation of mobile devices or the evolution of social platforms and interactive channels, news organizations that are able to recognize these new trends will be ahead of the curve in developing commercial strategies that fund their core journalistic principles in this digital age.
It would be easy to sit back and marvel at the enormous changes we've seen over just the last decade for the news industry. However, we need to keep moving forward and work diligently for and with our audiences, to maintain their loyalty and trust and keep them coming back. Creating this sustainable and open model ensures that even as the relationship between readers and their news continues to evolve over the next 200 years, we won't have to rely on display ads and programmatic to remain profitable. Instead, it's the fundamental tenets of "good journalism" which will continue to guide us as we do what the Guardian has done since 1821, deliver the news.