Three Major Ways Social Media has Advanced Journalism
Since leaving Chapman University I have held three different positions in the field of Journalism. I have worked as a Production Assistant for Dateline News, I have worked as a writer for the local CBS News Station in Los Angeles, and currently I am working as a Broadcast Associate for 48 Hours. Though the job requirements for each of these positions and broadcast vary one the common thread they all share is the dominance of social media in order to deliver news and information for hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Social media is fast, it’s free, and convenient.
The rise in social media has ensured that new is delivered lightning-fast. In the age of Twitter and Facebook journalist not only have the ability to publish news online at any time of day from anywhere in the world, they are expected to. Audience are no longer willing to wait for a morning paper or the evening news to receive information. Social media plays a big role because journalists can cover breaking news and publish information for their follower’s immediately. The downside, though, is that moving fast means people are more prone to making mistakes, or worse, careless reporting. The race to be first is real, and moving fast doesn’t always correlate with getting things right.
Journalism has always been reliant upon advertising and in the digital age this translates to “clicks. Social media in particular can be major traffic drivers for publications looking for free online distribution. Facebook utilizes software algorithms to determine which articles get the most distribution. The distribution power of Facebook means that publishers are not only changing the types of content they create (more videos), but it’s also changing where that content lives online. Facebook isn’t dictating what journalists consider news, but it is changing where we find that news, and in what form it is delivered. A downside to this is the emergence of fake news through Facebook. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have tools to combat sites that profit from the spread of misinformation.
Social media has given journalists the chance to build not only a public profile but a brand. While this used to be extremely difficult, utilizing Instagram, Twitter and Facebook allows journalists to weigh in on topics as they unfold and not only report on what is happening but be part of the larger conversation. Social media is a tool a journalist can use to reach viewers outside of their industry and across the world. With a social media profile viewers can to put a face to a name. The audience may subscribe to a publication or watch a specific broadcast because they enjoy certain journalists on a personal level. A goal of journalists in the digital age is to build a brand through their work and social following that will grow as they move through their career. The downside of a public persona on social media is the backlash. Social media makes it easier for members of the public to respond to journalists they do not like or agree with.