Flat knowledge

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The internet has changed the way audiences consume news and expect to consume information.

In a presentation at the BBC New Tools Festival in Belfast, Kevin Marsh, Executive Editor of the CoJo website, explained that audiences are getting used to the idea of being able to go straight to the information that's important to them. 

Those audiences don't need to read newspapers front to back; nor do they need to spend hours reading through a single news website. They know they can cut through endless piles of detail and zoom straight into the facts. Young people in particular, Marsh says, expect the news to come to them. YouTube, for example, does just that.

News websites compete not with punchy headlines but with metadata designed to optimise search results, with search engines recently graduating to the role of 'news providers' or, rather, news aggregators. Google News doesn't write, produce or broadcast news - it collates news stories from various websites, making it easier for the reader get a snapshot. It's what audiences want nowadays; what they expect. That's a form of flat knowledge, says Marsh.

What impact is the internet having on journalism? Marsh argues it's contributed to the demise of newspapers and is forcing journalists to be creative in their storytelling as they find new ways of extending a story's shelf-life.

Watch Kevin Marsh talking to Angelique Halliburton about flat knowledge and its impact on journalism.

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