Journalists urged to keep up with digital trends or risk failure

2017/10/19 18:39:41 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Journalists urged to keep up with digital trends or risk failure

Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) A visiting American journalist and expert on big data on Thursday urged reporters in Taiwan to become well-versed in social media and make better use of the latest technologies in order to survive in an age of digitalization.

"The content industry and journalism is now basically a technology industry," Dan Costa, editor-in-chief of PCMag said at a seminar in Taipei. "Reporters should have some video experience and a certain degree of social media fluency."

He said journalists have to "retrain themselves throughout their careers" to keep up with the new trends or they may not survive in the industry for long.

Speaking at a seminar titled "Big Data and Journalism," Costa introduced some of the latest tools for analyzing massive data sets and cited examples of journalists using such data on the job.

Sharing his own experience, Costa said he has been working in technology journalism for more than 20 years, starting in print media before many print publications were forced to shut down or go digital.

He later learned how to use big data in journalism, he said, adding that such an approach presents new business opportunities.

For instance, Costa said, Americans get more than 50 percent of their news from Facebook instead of from traditional media outlets.

Through social media and the use of new technologies, publications have been able to better engage and get to know their readers by offering more customized content, he said.

This trend, however, has had some negative consequences, as while social networking has helped create viral stories, it is turning journalism into a popularity contest and race to get clicks, Costa said.

Nonetheless, he said, all journalists still need to train and better prepare to adapt to the new trend, using massive data sets to create better stories.

"We need to understand how that works as we are competing for 'eyeballs' and algorithms in order to survive in this world," he added.

Apart from his job at PCMag, Costa also oversees the editorial operations of many other technology journalism websites, including,, and, according to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which hosted the seminar in collaboration with the Foundation for Excellent Journalism Award.

During his Taiwan visit, Costa has been participating in several discussions with local journalism students, start-up companies and entities in Taipei and Hsinchu, the AIT said.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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