The explosion of social media usage has changed the face of journalism, but for the better or the worse?
According to Gabrielle Levy in a study for Tufts University, social media has played an extensive role in reshaping the typical day of a journalist. Networking sites like Twitter serve as breaking news platforms. This is because the site is easily accessible on cell phones. People want news fast and easy. The demand for quick and easily accessible news however, has further pressured the workload on journalists.
Quick reporting can lead reporters to be more susceptible to misinforming. In addition, competing organizations do not want to appear behind in reporting, so many post mimicked material. However, it is important to keep in mind that as fast as these social networking sites allow the spread of misinformation, it is just as fast for the sites to discredit false information.
Paul Grabowicz, director of the New Media Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, said, “For journalists and news organizations, social networks provide an opportunity for connecting with people, distributing news stories and complementing news coverage with feeds from social media.” Social networks allow news organizations to create their own pages, like Facebook fan pages. These pages can update and notify followers of important news, as well as aid journalists in finding story sources.
Facebook is the top news source for people between the ages of 18 and 29. In the National USC Annenberg-Los Angeles Times Poll, more than half of voters in the most recent presidential election relied on Facebook for their news. Grabowicz found that the use of social networking sites increases the traffic of readers for news organizations. Most news websites are busiest during the weekdays, whereas people share more Facebook articles on the weekends.
Social networking has changed the face of journalism. We are in a generation where people have all the information they need right at their fingertips. How will this era of wanting information fast and easily accessible impact the knowledge of our generation and generations to come?