What is the future of the news industry? / by Isabelle Ringnes

The media industry (or actually every industry) has been affected by the internet. The “EXTRA””EXTRA” component of a fresh newspapers on the sidewalk has evaporated along with its emergence.

News is at our fingertips, one click away. Information is no longer a scarcity, but ubiquitous and universally available. But is the quality and quantity emerging in separate directions?

I believe that in order to attract and retain news consumers, readers and subscribers, the industry needs to find means in which people will feel like it is worth coming back to the source. They need to be willing to pay for content; simply because the quality, technology and deliverable of the news experience is unique.

A great example of news organizations that have seen some success from applying these practices are Fast Company and The New York Times. Fast Company Magazine invests a lot in the technological aspect of their articles, making every reading experience unique and magical. Take this article as an example: instead of a static image they employ a format that allows the image to come alive while reading the article. 

This image seems static here, but I urge you to check out the article for the full immersive experience. 

nother example stems from the New York Times. They have invested in interactive content, that tells a story through videos, graphics and interactivity. It is really quite beautiful. They have an entire library of their best work here, but being a slightly biased Norwegian I suggest you check out their feature on a trip through the Norwegian fjords. It is a truly beautiful article and really makes the reader feel like they are present in the moment. 

Technological advancements:

I believe that in the future we will be moving away from the typical smartphone in our hand and start seeing information displayed on the world. Everyone has a different idea of what the future will look like, but it seems that the consensus is that we are moving away from a containment environment to information everywhere. The technology is available, but needs refinement and implementation to transform the world as we know it and disrupt the ways in which we consume news.

But will the news industry as we know it survive the rapid accelleration of technology coming our way?

I believe in the importance of high quality and reliable news sources. But in order to stay relevant, impactful media houses should push to revolutionize what people think of as the ultimate news experience by incorporating truly unique ways of experiencing news such as using augmented reality , projection technology and 3d holoGraphic technology.

The true journalists role will no longer be to just hammer out a script, but build stories that give users a new, innovative and exciting way of consuming news. I believe that this experience will be worth paying for, and without the added cost, it can not be produced.

But is it possible? 

Augmented reality has become a common concept, but this technology is about to transition into a form that can display graphics for each viewer’s perspective.

The technology is currently used by some advertisers to turn print ads interactive, magazines to make stories come alive and corporations pushing direct sales from scanning an image.

I imagine people being able to scan a particular place and and see the current news stories unfold interactively within their mobile device.

Using geo-location, the internet and surrounding data- you could walk around anywhere and receive real-time stories about things going on in your local area from news sources and social media. Imagine walking anywhere, scanning whatever is in your eyesight and see a projected augmented layer providing tidbits of news information on whats going on. By pointing your phone, glass or projector device to an area of interest or conflict you would automatically receive dated and current news, social media posts and pictures about that place in real time.

Haven’t you ever walked by a fire truck or police tape and wondered what the commotion is about? Imagine if you could point your phone at it, and satisfy your curiosity within seconds.

The basics is that a projector (on a phone or any wearable device; glass,watch, earring, necklace, button) can turn any surface into an interactive projected newspaper. A user can essentially examine the world, find and process the stories based on geo-location and personalization, aggregate information and pull data from news sites and social media and then project the information as a personal newspaper (like flipboard) wherever your eyes desire- be it a wall, table or your own wrist. This would give news consumers constant access to news in whatever form they wish in an entirely new and engaging way. The technology would be touch and voice activated, enabling the user to demand any action to be taken with the use of his/hers voice or gesture.

Using  gesture recognition technology, the users could interact with the projected information without using their phones, but simply by gesturing onto or around the image projected. They would flip pages like an old school newspaper by waving their hands over the projected interface.Readers and consumers could comment real time, using side notes and social media.

Sidenote: What is side notes? (click link to see how Livefyre is doing this)

News organizations can incorporate comments in their articles using “side notes” technology. This means that when you are presented with news anywhere at anytime- be it your bathroom, bedroom, livingroom, kitchen table or car- you can comment by voice/or a projected keypad to a specific sentence and contribute to the overall crowdsourcing of information derived from a specific segment in an article.

The projection hardware could read stories out loud, or the consumer could read or watch them themselves. In that way you can both experience the newspaper in a technologically advanced manner while still being a contributor and narrator of the global curation of news.

3d holographic technology:

This technology can unfold in two dimensions- both projected on a surface or contained within your phone’s screen.

Imagine reading an interesting story on your phone. Now picture being able to click it and see it come alive as a holographic 3D version in front of your eyes. Like a theatrical experience you would be able to see the events in Syria or the latest inventions from South by Southwest in holographic 3d directly in front of you.

Maybe I am wrong, but I believe that if journalists expand their skill set to offer these kinds of experiences consumers will come back. Not everyone can generate this high quality content. It will disrupt the cold, passive newspapers as we remember them.

And it may already be in the works. On april 29th, 2014 Apple acquired a patent for a holographic display technology that allows users to interact by gesture and touch with 3d objects for possible implementation in their hardware.

What do you think is the future of the news? What big trends do you see coming our way? What are the implications?