Journalism or: How I learned to stop worrying and love social media

Almost any article published relating to journalism calls attention to its decline over the past decade. As an aspiring journalist, it can be conflicting to have the world of a decaying communication field fold right before my eyes. The three readings only live up to offering a less than hopeful view of journalism. However, what they also do is show how there is still hope hidden within journalists and their inclination to embrace social media and the changing technological world.

When considering it, there is a better chance to be a journalist by being an everyday consumer of media and news. Being that journalism has always be constructed around the idea that those in the field create the system, with the introduction of social media “incorporating non-journalists into the news system” is only the next logical step in cutting costs and ensuring publications have a new lifeline. Social media is the medium that allows this to happen while simultaneously breaking journalism apart. There is no denying that it is a double edged sword that easily has the ability to within a few years drastically change journalism but it is also necessary to adapt to it and incorporate it as much as possible to meet audiences directly where they’re getting their news.

But I see the influx of social media into the world of journalism as the gates being opened but still keeping gatekeepers (journalists) at the front to make sure what is being shared by the citizen journalists around the world. This “mutualisation of news” is what many in the industry seem to fear but by opening up to contributions and “crowd-sourcing” allows news organizations to continue to fight against social medias that aggregate news.

Social media is driving audiences away from traditional print news and from going directly to an organization’s website and print advertisers have been jumping ship for the past decade. And neither journalists or citizen journalists can really bring back millions of people getting their news from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. With newspapers being bought and sold off at frequent rates journalists need to acknowledge that they “can no longer rely on their employers” to support them through this fight for survival. While most employers focus on laying-off staff and subsidizing roles,  it’s up to the journalist to reach out to the audience rather than standing from afar in a tower.

Social media may be what’s destroying the profession but they have to use it in order to reach as much people directly and giving them the news how and where they want it. Once they realize that audiences want to be in control of “what they read” and “be able to contribute content and opinions,” of their own then all those people who left the traditional news structure can start coming back. But as social media continues to grow at an alarm rate the leap of faith has to be taken and journalists have to put their trusts in the everyday person.