Social Media and JournalismPosted: February 6, 2013
That social media is changing the field of journalism is no understatement. Facebook, Twitter and other forms of news sharing are all instant – someone posts or tweets, and then the whole world can know what is happening.
No longer does journalism follow a strictly 24 hour news cycle, where newspapers come out daily and citizens wait for the 5 o’clock news to learn of new happenings. Now, newspapers have websites. They have Facebook and Twitter accounts, share what news is happening right now, and start a conversation minutes after something takes place.
In some ways, this is a good thing. Citizens know what is happening instantly, and can make informed decisions based on those happenings. However, social media also raises some questions for journalists.
How do you know when a post or tweet is a reliable news source? In the Arab Spring, for instance, an entire movement was started through social media – not through a press conference. What is the proper way to verify information found through social media? And what if that information is not available anywhere else?
NPR journalist Andy Carvin, who recently published a book discussing social media’s impact on journalism, told NPR that using social media as a journalist is “kind of like running a newsroom on Twitter that’s become transparent. And rather than having news staff fulfilling the roles of producers, editors, researchers, etc., I have my Twitter followers playing all of those roles. So it ends up becoming this rather large, convoluted media literacy experiment in many ways.”
Is this a thought process that more journalists will end up using? How do you think the futures of journalism and social media will shape up?