Idan knocks frantically. Felix opens the door from the Social Media recording studio. They run through the ORF Multimedia newsroom to their desks. Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is resigning. Only a few minutes later, a picture breaking the news to almost 2 million followers has been posted to the #ZeitImBild Facebook- and Instagram- pages.
Idan Hanin and Felix Schatz are part of #ZeitImBild; the digitalized approach to journalism by Austria’s national public service broadcaster, ORF. A modern approach that includes TikTok dances, newsanchors in hoodies and more than 2,5 million followers, who rely on them to get their daily news on their Social Media feeds.
Three weeks ago, in the middle of June, ORF opened the doors to their new multimedia newsroom. More than 350 journalists were moved from traditional text-, radio-, and TV-newsrooms to a modern journalistic reality, where content should be shareable, and the news rely strongly on visual aspects.
19-year old Idan Hanin is one of ORF's two TikTok hosts, who daily present a 50-second news story to their 300.000+ followers. Idan, Felix and the rest of ORF's Social Media team see their jobs as “translating” the news to their audience, who primarily consists of kids, teenagers and young adults.
We use a different kind of language. Our audience on Social Media is very young, and we take the TV-news and translate it into a language that the young audience wants to hear and see, — Felix Schatz
On the other side of the newsroom are large production studios with expensive camera equipment that take multiple people to move. Here, the news are produced for Austria’s TV-screens multiple times a day. The journalists have a similar task: presenting the news to viewers in a way that is understandable, relatable and interesting. But the difference between the two sides of the newsroom is that the TV-team produces for an audience that primarily consists of people who are 50+ years. And that they are presenting the news on a media platform that has been shrinking for years.
In this newsroom, two worlds collide. Traditional journalists producing to an audience that they have known for decades. And then, Idan Hanin who is producing news to a growing audience that he still has to demystify. An audience, who are already finding themselves in an era of digitalization.
Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) draws its history back to 1949, when the first TV pilot programs launched. Since then, the number of media platforms has grown drastically. In the last ten years, they have expanded to include Social Media platforms. Now, they offer their audience to choose between four TV- and 12 radio stations, a website and four Social Media pages.
Never in history has it been easier to spread information to large groups of people than it is today. This is a never before seen opportunity, but an equally big challenge, according to Social Media Entrepreneur, Helge Fahrnberger.
In the last 7 years, social networks have steadily replaced news websites as a primary source for younger audiences overall, with 39% of 18–24 years olds across 12 countries now using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) as their main source of news. This is compared to the 34% who prefer to go directly to a news website or app.
The new generation of media audience get their news online. They're consuming journalism in its most digitalized forms. The news are hashtagified, tiktokified, shareable, likable, emotive and the headline is swallowed in a second before the thumb has already scrolled on to the next one.
Social Media reporter Felix Schatz uses the data he gets from users interacting with #ZeitImBild on Social Media to strategize how to adjust the produced content.
Media being digitalized is in many senses a positive development.
Social Media Entrepreneur Helge Fahrnberger sees digitalization as a democratic win.
Social Media Reporter at ORF, Felix Schatz, is excited about journalism moving into unknown realms.
Head of Online at ORF, Stefan Pollach, sees digitalization as a shift in the common power hierarchies.
With digitalized media, viewers, readers and listeners are able to access an incomprehensible amount of news and information by reaching into their pockets, says Helge Fahrnberger. They want their news fast, easy, and, most importantly, free. Why pay for something that you can get for free only a couple of clicks away?
Although many journalists see themselves as idealists, they can’t survive on ideals alone. They need to put food on the table, and with a declining number of people who are willing to stay in the traditional news cycles, with pay-per-view, monthly subscriptions and tax-paid media licenses, journalists and media professionals may be looking into a future where the time between the paychecks are getting longer and longer. Stefan Pollach believes that this means we will see media organizations rethinking the way that they earn money.
When it comes to economic survival, we're probably going to see a few surprising packages and subscription models.
Merely seconds have passed since Idan and Felix posted the news about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation to #ZeitImBild and the feedback has already started pouring in. Likes. Comments. Shares. People are interacting with the news, using them and helping to shape them like never before.
When Felix Schatz looks into the future, he sees journalism becoming even more interactive and taking place on Social Media platforms to an even higher degree.
The constant movement of journalism and Social Media is a great opportunity, and for me personally very interesting. I love it, — Felix Schatz
Looking into the future, more print media and daily newspapers will shut down. The news are no longer bound to a printing press, expensive camera equipment or a radio studio. It only requires a device with internet.
Some fear that this means that professional journalism and quality media will die. But neither Helge Fahrnberger, Felix Schatz or Stefan Pollach see it going that far. Instead, they are looking for all the places where quality journalism can surface in new and exciting ways.
Keywords: #Digitalization #Media #Journalism #Change #ZeitImBild #ORF #SocialMedia #Digital #News
Created by: Elisabeth Lykke Ivens, Hermine Virabian, Lidiia-Mariia Huk & Olena Pokalchuk.
Mentor: Jens Lang