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Online Journalism

reflections on a changing medium

Tag Archives: Twitter

Social networking sites are everywhere. Almost everyone I know has either a Twitter, a Facebook, a LinkedIn, or a Myspace. Some people have one of each! Not until recently, though, have these tools become widely used by businesses and news outlets. I never really thought much of having profiles on these sites. I just saw it as a fun activity that I took part in in order to connect with my friends, especially the ones who now live across the country. Now employers at media organizations are frequently asking job candidates about their social Web media skills.

“‘In the old days, most journalists thought it was their job to write a story, and it was someone else’s job to distribute it, market it and find an audience for it,’ says Alan Murray, executive editor, online for the Wall Street Journal. “In the new world, the journalist has a responsibility for the whole set.”

Here, Alan Murray, an online editor for the Wall Street Journal is talking about the changing role of journalists and the blurring of lines between the roles of reporters, photographers, videographers, Web designers, marketing and advertising. This could be a positive thing as the journalist who produced the story, gathering information firsthand and interacting with subjects, would also be producing and displaying the rest of the media package that their written work might be part of. This could lead to more cohesive media packages and less of a disconnect between the creative ideas of individuals working on different parts of the project.

On the other hand, though, there’s a reason why, historically, journalists have been separated from marketing and advertising sections of news outlets physically and otherwise. If the journalist is made responsible for these tasks that hold economic consequences, as well as gathering and reporting information, it is possible that the stories that are being reported upon could be influenced by advertisers or those whom the news outlet has a stake in pleasing for the sake of profits.

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in response to journalism.co.uk

While I agree that it is very important for modern journalists to know how to interact with and utilize new Web technologies, I do not think that “how to monitor Twitter” should be at the top of this list. I mean, c’mon. Twitter is certainly useful to report and receive news messages in real-time–but only in increments of 140 characters or less. This just seems trivial alongsied weightier necessities and tips such as number 5: “core journalistic skills are still crucial.”
I agree much more with this idea. Although the media landscape is undergoing some heavy renovation, accuracy and skill of news outlets will always remain important to consumers of news. In the future, as consumers of news become innundated with more and more news from more and more sources they might have to be a bit choosier about whom they’re trusting to get the facts right. Sure, as number 9 states, “stories don’t have to end once they are published online,” however, careless “news”-vomit from media outlets won’t pave the way for long-term credibility or gain the the trust of readers. With too many slip-ups or too much of a carefree publish then filter attitude, you’ll essentially end up writing the blog who cried wolf. This is something to be wary of.

Furthermore, it is silly to think that polished writing skills will be relics of the past, left to rust away in journalists’ toolbelts beneath hi-tech gadgets. The ability to communicate news in a clear and concise way through the use of language will always be a necessary skill. Even with the adoption of more advanced methods of gathering information through research, seeking out story ideas and transmitting information to consumers, journalists will still have to take efficiently communicate  information to their audience in order for consumers to find meaning in their work and gain knowledge from it.

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