Journalism – Where does it stand in the digital world?

Story by Melanie Richards

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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.

Director of communications at Griffith University and former Gold Coast Bulletin editor, Dean Gould says some journalists are using social media really well, while others fall by wayside.

“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.

Tell us your thoughts on this subject at The Social Effect Blog by posting a comment below.

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The Impact of Social Media on Employment

Story by Richard Nguon

THE use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is having a prominent impact on employees around the world.

As social media becomes more integrated into our daily lives, many employees are unaware of the potential consequences and risks associated with their online sharing.

Being hidden behind the veil of a laptop screen isn’t as anonymous as it was in the past. Reports of job loss due to social media usage is becoming an increasing occurrence.

An online blog about employment related issues, blogging4jobs.com has listed several incidents of employees who have been fired due to their behaviour on social media.

In July of this year, Shea Allen, an investigative reporter for ABC affiliate WAAY was fired due to a list of workplace related confessions that she posted on her personal blog.

Maths teacher Carly Mckinney was dismissed earlier this year due to profane photos she tweeted of herself.

Read more about these reports and others here.

These incidents usually begin with employees sharing thoughts about their jobs on social media platforms. A popular hashtag used for this is #IHateMyJob as seen on a several different social media outlets below:

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Users posting under the #IHateMyJob as seen on TwitterInstagram and Vine (click to view more examples).

As seen by the examples above, some social media users will use several different hashtags to express their thoughts.

However, it’s the specific references to their workplace or even being pictured in their work uniform that leads to the next step. This involves getting caught by their employer, undergoing investigation, and then in most cases being dismissed.

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Shared on Mashable, an employee turns to Facebook to post a rant about their manager, but is caught out and consequently dismissed.

This is why online applications like FireMe! are becoming increasingly popular. FireMe! tracks users’ Twitter accounts for tweets that may lead to their dismissal and warms them accordingly via email.

The app uses a scoring system that measures tweets against the possibility of getting fired, and categorises users into several sections such as “haters” and “horrible bosses.”

A screencapture of the leader board on FireMe! listing tweets most likely to lead to dismissals.
Warning: May contain offensive language.

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Creator of FireMe!, Ricardo Kawase said he developed the app to research online user behaviour.”

“Our goal is to raise awareness about the danger of public online data.”

“Most people seem to be unaware that on the internet, once something is said, you can never take it back,” he said.

It is this trend of online social behaviour that led to US employers proposing a bill last year for the rights to request passwords to employees’ social media accounts.

However, even though the bill was dismissed, some employees are still trying to find ways to gain access to the social media accounts of their employees.

Employment Relations student, Rebecca Young said the bill proposing for the rights to request passwords to employees’ social media accounts was unethical and intrusive to an individual’s personal life.

“I don’t see why it would be okay to search an employee’s social network accounts for the soul purpose of keeping a watch on them. That’s more or less stalking them,” she said.

In a culture that is so consumed with the internet and technology, social media is having a prominent effect on job seekers.

According to research conducted by On Device Research, one in ten young job seekers are losing job opportunities due to their social media profiles.

The Yellow Pages social media report states that 65 per cent of Australians use social media.

Have you had any bad experiences involving social media usage at your workplace? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Are you addicted to social media?


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Here is a link to our storify account: Social Media Addiction http://sfy.co/rDem #storify