Experts weigh in on the future of news delivery

by Monica Bentivegna
Oct 30, 2018 in Digital Journalism

In IJNet's current poll, we ask you to predict how most people will receive the news in your region in five years -- print, television/radio, online or on a cell phone.

So far, the majority (46%) believe news will be most accessed online. Twenty-seven percent believe TV/radio will be the most accessed mediums, and 22% predict cell phones will be most widely used. A mere 5% believe most people will receive the news primarily via print media.

We recently posed the same question to three journalism experts. Here's what they had to say:

Patrick Butler, ICFJ's Vice President of Programs, thinks the future of news distribution will depend on geographic location.

"In the United States, online willl be the most important medium in five years. For other parts of the world, it will still be TV or radio. Cell phones will grow in importance everywhere, especially in places like Africa and Asia, but I don't think they will be the most important medium yet. And newspapers will remain influential but will continue to decline in importance."

Joshua Hatch, a multimedia producer at, thinks cell phones are the future of news.

"Globally, it's probably the cell phone because that is the cheapest, most readily available interconnected device out there and cell phone growth is phenomenal. Plus, the features on cell phones allow for multimedia, etc., so you could even see long-form video documentaries being played on people's cell phones. In times of natural disaster, etc., it could be the most important way to spread information."

Amy Eisman, a journalism professor and director of writing programs at American University's School of Communication, believes that no matter how news distribution develops, the journalist will always be the most important piece of news delivery.

"The platforms you mentioned talk only about distribution of information, not source. Yes, content will flow freely across platforms -- already we can capture video and show it on the Web or on our TV. But we will need journalists to fact-check, edit and not just aggregate information. Without them, we will have information that is produced by sources -- government, advocacy groups, commercial interests or otherwise -- free of vetting. There may be fewer journalists, but they will remain the best sources, drawing information from the public through crowdsourcing, being transparent and being accurate."