News Media vs. Google, Facebook and Twitter: how to co-exist?

The discussion on the relationships between news media and intermediaries, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, had been held on Saturday, April 18th, at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. The session was moderated by Rasmus Nielsen, director of research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford in the UK. Jacqui Maher from BBC News Labs and Marco Pratellesi from L’Espreso joined the panel as media practitioners.

As to Reuters Institute researcher, there are several modern trends in the evolving relationships between news media and intermediaries. First, they are led by intermediaries, who drive innovation. Second, they are sometimes shaped by direct collaborations, almost executively with high-profile US news media. Third, they are characterized by fits and starts as strategies change, algorithms are tweaked, and products are launched and pulled.

Rasmus Nielsen mentioned several possible ways of interaction between media and intermediaries. Those are co-existence, collaboration and conflict. He also added that the most common for European countries are co-existence and conflict.

BBC News Labs expert Jacqui Maher joined the conversation with the remark that Google, Facebook and Twitter are not the only players on the intermediaries’ arena. Having previous experience in the New York Times, Jacqui emphasized the greater availability of resources at BBC, which provides more possibility to experiment within different types of social media platforms and find the best way of collaboration with them.

Marco Pratellesi from L’Espresso focused on news challenges media face in the era of social media. He mentioned that publishers don’t control distribution of theirs media anymore, as significant part (30% in 2014) come through social media. Publishers don’t know their audiences anymore. Thus, media have to collaborate with intermediaries, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, in order to acquire information on the audience’s behavior and habits and understand what theirs readers really want. Pratellesi claimed that the mission of news media nowadays is to find relevant news and base them to the relevant platform.

Speakers’ presentations were followed by conversation with audience, discussing the best practices of collaboration between news media and intermediaries and the challenges that collaboration bring.

Olena Puzina