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The Evolution of Journalism: Social Media in an Age of Change

The most important thing for any aspiring journalist to understand is that he or she is entering a field that is full of change and unpredictability. The TOW Center’s report, Post Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present, makes more than clear that the news industry is constantly changing with new innovations through social media and overall information consumption.

I understand the projections that point towards much more specialized news outlets in the future. The report predicts “The news ecosystem of 2020 will be a study in expansion, with heightened contrasts between

Social media is apart of every journalist's routine.

Social media is apart of every journalist’s routine.

extremes. More people will consume more news from more sources.” To me, that means outlets will become more focused on one particular beat, or one particular aspect of news.

That follows a trend that has been seen with blogging. Anyone with internet access can start a blog. Anyone with a blog can report the news. Anyone, nowadays, who reports news is a journalist. Anything from a Tweet to an entire blog article can be news.

Professional or “citizen,” a journalist today must separate him or herself from the pack. Credibility is always the focal-point of success in the industry. But, the one with the best working knowledge of social media and online tools is going to reach a wider audience. Additionally, the one that adapts quickest, is in better position to succeed.

The report adds, “The old model, where most users visited a home page or used a mobile application tied to a single organization, will continue to lose ground to superdistribution, users forwarding relevant materials to one another.”

I believe this is most telling of the industry’s ever-changing nature. The amount of likes or retweets a post gets is indicative of the outlet’s success at connecting with the audience. Beyond that, a retweet displays the post to, what can be considered, an untapped market. It’s free advertising (and distribution). The key is to report material that the audience will enjoy and want to share. An outlet may find that its audience enjoys baseball stories, but stories about individual players get shared the most. At some point, that outlet may start reporting only individual player stories. That is the path the industry is projected on.

However, it’s impossible to know what innovations will be around years from now. That is why a journalist must be adaptable and prepared. It’s not a simple matter of connecting the dots and reaching a conclusion.

Journalism is not changing linearly; it’s undergoing change based on change.

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About markprussin

Student a Hofstra University. Journalism major, hoping to become professional sports broadcaster. Station member at 88.7 FM WRHU, producer of Top Post (D-I Men's Lacrosse show on WRHU).

Discussion

4 thoughts on “The Evolution of Journalism: Social Media in an Age of Change

  1. I like your point about how an outlet needs to connect with an audience more than ever in the 21st century. Not only is it about connecting with an audience, it’s about identifying with one, so you develop a following and a legitimacy in the industry. The conclusion discussed the difference between individual and industry, in that one really can’t exist without the other. Some people have success freelancing and being a one-man-band, but it certainly helps to have the backing of a reputable organization to improve your individual reputation.

    Posted by michaelsullivanportfolio | March 4, 2013, 11:58 PM
  2. Being a journalist really is about adapting quickly to the ever changing world around us. Just a few years ago twitter was no where near to the outlet it has become and now it is a central hub for the news. Granted, it is not always accurate it is still a good places to pick up leads from. Re-tweets really do open you up to a whole new untapped market. Plus it’s always a confident boost when someone likes what you wrote enough to want to share!

    Posted by kerrisheehan | March 5, 2013, 12:00 AM
  3. Today’s world of journalism as a form of survival of the fittest. Only those who adapt to the new news cycle and ways that it is published will continue to thrive. Everything is in real time, and the audience is always watching. Years from now journalism will still be changing and the next generation will already be up to date with it.

    Posted by Jade | March 5, 2013, 1:06 AM
  4. I agree with your point that people will consume more news from more sources. Therefore, there will be more and more media outlets that will tend to focus on a particular beat in order to become successful. Social media grants anyone the ability to publish and create news. However, you make a valid point that the people who learn how to use social media effectively will draw the larger audience in the future. Whether the individual is an amateur or a professional, the one that conquers social media will have a bigger impact in the news industry.

    Posted by laurentoctobre | March 5, 2013, 1:24 AM

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