Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?
Jacob Wolinksy is the CEO and Founder of ValueWalk.com, a financial news website with emphasis on value investing, hedge funds, asset management, economics, and tech. Wolinsky graduated from Farleigh Dickinson University in 2009. He began his career as a financial journalist covering stock ideas, news and assets at GuruFocus.com. Prior to forming ValueWalk, in 2010, Wolinsky spent time working as a journalist for NewsMax as a blogger for Money News.
“I love getting an explosive story that requires weeks to hone.
It’s like being a detective uncovering wrongdoing.”
What advice would you give to aspiring young writers and reporters?
JW: It is always fun to chase a scoop, but don’t force it. Sometimes journalists spend so much time on researching a potentially big story, when there’s not much there. While frustrating, it’s for the benefit of everyone to see things objectively.
What are some of the best practices from journalism’s past that you feel need to be utilized now?
JW: Including at least two independent sources in your story is a must. Even if you have a reliable person giving information, it is possible for mistakes or details to be lost in translation. Getting multiple sources to confirm ensures that everything is accurate and nails down the vital details.
The profession of journalism feels more attacked today than in a long time, but also highly necessary. Do you feel that’s true, and if so, why?
JW: I think it is true, but it is mostly deserved. There is nothing wrong with having some personal feelings on certain issues. But the media profession gives a totally one-sided picture these days. I believe many journalists have no idea how far outside the mainstream some of their views are.
What gives you hope for the future of journalism?
JW: I think the rise of subscription models is very positive for quality news. When you are paid by ad revenue, the goal ends up becoming maximizing views. The tabloids have low standards, while the more reputable outlets have higher, but there is always that pressure. A subscription model works well to cultivate a highly engaged, quality audience.
What do you think about the role of technology and social media in journalism?
JW: There are certainly advantages of technological advancement, including research being much easier, networking etc. But overall, it has been detrimental. With barriers to entry at zero and the proliferation of the display ad model, click-bait becomes the driving force. The use of technology also presents some challenges such as forged video evidence and deep fake artificial intelligence, which are major issues.