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Social media and the future of journalism

The world of journalism has changed dramatically since social media became a daily way of communication in commerce and social alike. It overlapped and encompassed traditional media for a number of progressive and developmental reasons. This can mainly be attributed to:
Democratic platform of speech: everyone has the chance to publish any media they want on the internet with an equal opportunities status as anyone else, writer or not by profession.

Unlimited audience access: thanks to technological development in terms of smartphones and iPads, journalistic content can accessed anywhere and at any time regardless of demographics or timeframes.

Global reach: content once on the internet, is the universal property of anyone who has internet access. This means that any publication online need not be specific to the area it's content provider comes from. It can be applicable to the world.

Economic saving: social media is dramatically cheaper than traditional print publications and therefore is appealing to any level of journalist whether they write for the New York Post or have a tiny niche blog then tend to. Money is after all, the universal language.

Real time broadcasting: immediacy and real time are the only time to seriously consider today in media. Stories need to accessible almost as they are unravelling so that the audience may be as involved as possible to the situation in order for it to be relevant to them and worth their attention which is so divided due to daily information overload.

Interactive possibilities: social media encourages commentary, shares and likes on journalistic content. In fact this how businesses are measuring their progress and assessing their online marketing campaigns.

Cross platform integration: with all the various types of social media designed to work together so that a vast range of platforms may be utilised to cover a large surface areas with the content in different forms. This will turn an otherwise two-dimensional piece of media into a multi-dimensional work that can be accessed through Facebook, Twitter, a blog etc in such a way that encourages the audience to track the same content using all the above.

So what will journalism look like in the future?
  1. Dramatically different. Journalists will become multimedia operators if they want to remain relevant and successful. They will have to be more open minded and more able to compose content in a variety of different ways from traditional print to viral video. They will become a spokesperson of what will essentially be considered only their opinion even if they are representing an agency. This is because due to the democratic nature of the internet, the voice of the journalist will be one of thousands. Within agencies contributors will not only be on the payroll, they will be readers too. Trust will be reinstalled in the media based on online relationships and reputations of the writer themselves and their interaction with the audience. Traditional media has lost much of its trust due to its closed door policy on those who were not a part of the media as an institution or the government itself. Restrictions, propaganda and censorship has tainted the reputable perception of traditional media in comparison with digital media.


19 Dec 2011 11:04

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