Internet is changing how media work

7 Feb

The Internet has definitely impacted journalists and their news organizations. With the Internet has come the introduction of blogs and social networking. Both of these can help or harm journalism. Some people see these as threats, but a savvy journalist can use these as tools to further his or her career.

First, blogs, podcasts and youtube give everyday people news outlets. This means that readers have to be more careful about who they believe when consuming news online. Luckily, Google tries to keep a handle on this. It tries to update its algorithms in order to bring searches the most accurate news.

But at the same time, information spreads more quickly and reaches more people thanks to these tools. Some journalists view this as a threat to their jobs or a loss of power for the news organizations. They say by giving people who aren’t journalists blogs, it upsets the balance of power between journalists and news consumers.

I don’t think this is the case. Journalists don’t own the news. Our job is simply to bring the news to the readers. Only now those same readers have become actively involved in the process. To me, we should be excited about the prospect. It’s the same phenomenon as when you get a friend hooked on your favorite television show or music artist. We should be excited that people are making our job their hobby.

Social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, can be used as journalistic tools.  While journalists shouldn’t use their association with a news organization to promote their personal blogs, Facebooks or twitters, the opposite is certainly intriguing. Using social networking, journalists can connect to a large number of people easily and immediately.

Journalists can also use social networking sites to crowd source. They can reach a large group of people to find their opinions or learn news. But at the same time, journalists need to be cautious of the news they gather in this manner. Some of it may not be true and other news may be too personal. For example, journalists used a Facebook group to find out that the president of a university had cancer. This was prying into the individuals life, especially since he didn’t voluntarily release the information.

Overall, I don’t think the Internet or social networks should pose a threat to journalists. They offer us new opportunities that we should embrace as we move into the future. But we should impose guidelines to prevent them from being abused.

As far as the news industry goes, not everything has changed over time. Small community newspapers still have strong readerships. Local newspapers don’t have the same resources national newspapers. Their readers are older and more established. They are more likely to read the paper in front of them instead of going to the internet. This is especially true for local news, since local news isn’t as easy to track down on the Internet.

One way local news is trying to make its way to the Internet is called Patch.com. Patch.com is a site devoted to towns with populations of fewer than 70,000 people. Free lance writers are hired to write for each of the communities and central editors run the whole organization.

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