Marsh slams op-ed writers and reveals newspaper of tomorrow

Newspaper opinion writers will soon be killed off completely by the internet, according to editor of the BBC College of Journalism Kevin Marsh.

In a Society of Editors conference session entitled "The New Journalist", he said: "The days are numbered for those journalists who fill their columns with the contents of their spleen and bile-duct rather than the contents of their notebooks.

"Blogs on the really contentious stuff are already better written, more timely, more authentic, more argumentative, more partial …more thought provoking than the majority of op-ed pages."

He added: "The future journalist – if such a thing exists, and I very much hope it will – will be distinct from the ordinary citizen armed with the same publishing tools."

And he said the distinction journalists will have is "trust".

Recounting a recent conversation with Guardian multimedia journalist Ben Hammersley he said: "Ben's prediction is that within the next months, the journalists in at least one news organisation – he used the word newspaper – will be making an additional choice about how they do their business. Now that I've got my story, what's the best way to tell it. They'll use off the shelf hardware and software that an eight-year-old could operate to tell their story using words, pictures, graphics, links..whatever's best. And it'll be a continuous process.

"They'll publish their stories as soon as they are ready – Ben himself already operates like this.

"There'll still be a newspaper – but it'll be an arbritrarily frozen version of the content that existed at 10 o'clock or whenever, when somone pressed the publish button."

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