Story by Melanie Richards
IN case you have been living under a rock for the past ten years, it would be safe to say social media has taken over the earth… not a zombie apocalypse but the use of social media and our need to show the world we exist.
Many people would say mainstream media has been left behind when it comes to the use of social media. Anyone in journalism would tell you that this new way of communication has delivered enormous changes across all forms of media, including the good old newspaper.
“Some journalists are really on the money with social media while others see it still as some sort of voodoo.
“Social media has been around for ten years… its actually old news now. I don’t think it has anything to do with age with some people in the younger generation not knowing any more than say someone who is 50. “
Molly Swenson works at, not for profit, citizen journalist website RYOT.org and she has a different view on how journalists approach their news reporting and why mainstream media fell behind.
“The news industry has typically operated with a similar philosophy to wildlife TV shows, don’t interfere with nature.
“News ethics have somehow become twisted to follow the same thinking where it’s OK to report on human suffering but not OK to intervene, “Ms Swenson said.
“That attitude only reaffirms apathy, and that is how the digital age is overtaking traditional journalism, “she said.
Citizen journalism has become a bit of a buzzword for people creating blogs online and expressing their opinion as of late. It goes hand in hand with social media as more people every day are blogging as well as tweeting.
It has been said, online blogs have thrived using social media when newsrooms, at times, fail to deliver. Many bloggers believe it is their job to fact-check the mainstream media to help keep them honest.
With the use of social media, bloggers have been known to scoop the media with breaking news stories.
Anthony Borelli is the editor for citizen journalist blog The Third Report and he says citizen and professional journalists have had a symbiotic relationship since the dawn of news and it is natural to be.
“The relationship between Professional and Citizen Journalists is competitive in nature, and some degree of distrust and even disdain (in both directions) is natural.
“Citizen Journalism is enjoying a somewhat higher than average popularity (historically) due partly to its earlier embrace of new mediums (there is that innovation factor) and partly due to a drift away from the objectively neutral third party view of reporting that (historically) is the goal of good journalism, “Mr Borelli said.
Dean Gould says 99% of citizen journalists get their content from conventional media organisations and a lot of it is opinionated drivel.
However, he believes journalists need to embrace the conversation going on in social media.
“There are all these channels now that they not only should be distributing their content on but they should be listening to.
“If there are conversations going on in Twitter, Facebook or Instagram about the Syrian war then the journalists should be listening to those the same way they do interviews, “he said.
“If journalism is all about speed then you are never going to compete, but it’s not always about speed… It is about getting it right and it has never been as important as it is now, “Mr Gould said.
With the world fully embracing social media whether journalists have caught up or not, it is safe to say newspapers are on their way out and new media is in.
Molly Swenson from RYOT.com says she will be surprised if newspapers survive the next few years.
“I think newspapers will become relics like globes, maps and atlases did years ago when GPS was invented, “she said.
Meanwhile Dean Gould from Griffith University said anyone in this country who thinks print has a future is an idiot because the audience has already gone.
But he believes there is still hope for journalist in the digital age, all they have to do is embrace it.
“News journalists now have an exciting frontier in front of them with so many different channels, not only to publish but to receive information, and they just need to get familiar with that, “he said.
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