For many centuries, obtaining news meant either grabbing the newspaper or catching the six o’clock newscast, however as evident by the emergence of social media, times have vastly changed. There used to be a time where having expertise in various niches was unnecessary, however in today’s world, versatility warrants longevity. Journalists are suddenly faced with the challenge of presenting all aspects of news in a way that attracts the attention of readers. Gone are the days of people waiting for the news to get to them, they demand information as soon as it becomes available. Let us observe a moment of silence for the ever-so fading one-way approach of traditional media. Its days are clearly numbered.
The advent of Web 2.0 has had a profound impact on the dynamics of news reporting, particularly journalism. As Francis Pisansi posits, “multimedia presentation replaces storytelling that has taken place in just one medium. The issues involving story selection, organization and presentation become preeminent in a time when the phenomenal growth of blogs, moblogs, vlogs, stories told through maps (43places.com) or games (kumawar.com) cannot be ignored.” While some journalists have embraced the influx of social media, many are struggling to stomach the reality that print reporting is becoming obsolete. The following graph offers a breakdown of how Americans actually obtain news (Boot Camp Digital):
According to Boot Camp Digital, 37% of internet users report contributing to news by either, commenting on a news story, tagging content of a story, blogging or Tweeting. Furthermore “40% of internet users say an important feature of a news website to them is the ability to customize the news they get from the site,” which speaks to the impact of Web 2.0.
The ever-changing state of the Web means news organizations must not only format their content on all kind of mediums and for all kinds of devices, they must also be prompt in doing so. The bottom line is the first person to report the breaking news [accurately] will likely establish itself as a viable source of news. For this reason many journalists have now taken to Twitter in an attempt to keep new-seekers constantly informed.
While it can’t be argued that Web 2.0 technologies have drastically diminished the relevance of print news, whether it will lead to the ultimate demise of the newspaper remains to be seen. Nonetheless the business of news reporting has greatly evolved, as the traditional one-way approach of news media has been replaced by the “multifaceted participation of people who not long ago were called an audience”. But as Ira Basen argues “[while] there is much to celebrate about this democratization of the media, […] there are also reasons to be concerned about the loss of an independent, professional journalistic filter at a time when everyone can be their own media.” Essentially this means that news has lost merit, legitimacy and objectivity, and instead has become more amateur and biased. But rather than assuming a defensive position to this reality, journalists should instead join forces with the lesser ethical, untrained people- who seem to have an understanding of the public interest- and find offer guidance so they will understand and acquire the necessary skill-set to make personal blogging resourceful.
Francis Pisani summed this matter up best saying, “tomorrow’s potential readers are using the Web in ways we can hardly imagine, and if we want to remain significant for them, we need to understand how.” All signs indicate point to the eventual disappearance of print news and the emergence of digital media; as far as I’m concerned this is good for the world; less trees to destroy. As the odd adage goes, ‘every dog has its day’; the newspaper’s was 20 years ago.