Reading the newspaper with our morning coffee or watching the 8:00 PM news on TV after having dinner are two things that most of us don’t do anymore.
Where do you people get their news from?
Traditionally, journalists and editors where the ones to decide what was newsworthy and us (the audience) could not participate in the process. Today, as Graham Meikle describes in his book Interpreting News published in 2009, online and mobile media has changed the relationship we have with information allowing us choose when and where we want to be informed and customize the content that is relevant to our interest.
Pew’s annual State of the Media 2013 has shown that the number of people owning digital devices continues to increase rapidly and accessing online news is one of the most popular uses for this devices. Pew Research Data also shows that 39% of respondents get news online or from a mobile device “yesterday,” in comparison to 34% in 2010, when the survey was last conducted.
Good or Bad news for the News Business?
The shift from traditional media to online media is a fact but it is not necessarily bad news for the industry.
With the development and the rapid growth of new media, the news business is almost unrecognizable and media professionals working in the field have had to adapt to a new scenario. New media has become not only a complement of traditional media but the main platform in which news are reaching the audience.
The good news is that today, people are becoming more involved with the news, spending more time reading them, are constantly looking for new sources, sharing content, engaging in conversations with journalists and participating in the content creation.
Many people argue that traditional media and journalism might not survive the digital age, but as we have discussed during the past two lectures, I am confident to say that the news business is not dying, traditional media is not extinct and journalists still play an important role in content creation today.
So who are today’s journalists?
In the digital era, everyone can publish information and news are being provided not only by professional journalists and recognized media sources but basically anyone who wishes to do so.
After studying journalism for five years it is shocking to hear that anyone can actually become a journalist without having academic background, credentials or editorial criteria. Nevertheless, to what point is this true?
With the Internet and the diversity of channels provided, anyone can produce and publish content online on Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube among others. As a result, individuals are turning to diverse sources of information and traditional media is no longer the only source nor the most relevant. Nowadays, news are being published without editorial criteria and lacking professional and ethical standards such as verified sources and facts.
Today, more than ever, it is important for audiences that are migrating to newer sources of information (Hayes, Singer & Cippos, 2007) to be able to choose correctly and determine what is trustworthy.
“When everyone can be a publisher, what distinguishes the journalist?” (Hayes, Singer & Cippos, 2007, pp. 59). The answer is trust. A journalist is someone citizens can trust to provide them with information based on professional and ethical standards.
In my opinion, it does not matter where the information is published (newspaper, radio, online news, blog, Facebook or Twitter) as long as it is reliable, trustworthy and the content responds to Journalism Standards and Principles.
Journalists, like many other professionals (PR, marketing, education, etc) have had to adapt to the digital era. Online journalism has evolved to a point that in 2012 online journalism played a very importer role in the Pulitzer Picks.
Online Journalism has as much value as traditional journalism as long as it maintains the quality and ethical standards offered by traditional media.
As I see it, today’s journalists have an opportunity to reach more people, engage in conversations, participate in discussions and receive feedback from their audience (as scary as this most be).
Nevertheless, as explained during last week lecture, editors of news sites all over the world share the same concerns when it comes to online journalism. The desire to maintain editorial control, the lack of capacity to moderate and Astroturfing are some of the main issues that the journalism industry has to face day to day.
In conclusion for today, a little piece of advice that I also need to follow: lets not be lazy when seeking information. Together we can become an audience that demands high quality journalistic pieces with excellent research, verifiable sources and facts, good writing and interesting topics. The audience can make the difference and help the journalism industry improve day to day.
Tips for choosing a reliable news source: