How Social Media Changed journalism!

Originally Published on ( Social Media Changed journalism)

It wasn’t too long ago that only a select few could call themselves journalists. Reserved as societies news givers, these men and women had access to the latest happenings, the most reliable sources and the most professional pictures. But in recent years, everybody has gained the capacity to become one. Thanks in part to the invention of Social Media outlets, Twitter, Facebook and Wikipedia which have somehow Changed Journalism as we used to know.

On a day-to-day basis, the evidence of social media’s rise to prominence on the journalistic scene can go unnoticed by the un-observing eye. But during times of conflict and tragedy, its value becomes apparent.

In April 2013, in Boston, New England, a series of bombs detonated during the annual Boston Marathon, causing a predictable level of mayhem. As reporters rushed to the scene, trying to make sense of what had happened, Twitter was already receiving the full story. Eye witness accounts, pictures and quotes could all be found on the site, minutes, even hours before the traditional media could get access to anything similar. Due to worldwide interest in the disaster, national TV stations turned to Twitter to gain more information. Fan video, reports of what had happened, and speculation over details were given national coverage virtually straight from the internet. Sources were defined by tag names, rather than by actual names.

The event marked one of the first real instances in which the established media outlets turned to social media sources for help with a story.

Social media doesn’t just create opportunities for makeshift journalists during instances of big news either. The emergence of Wikipedia, WordPress and the standard blog mean that anybody with an interest in telling the news can call themselves a ‘journo.’ Local, national, celebrity or sports news can be reported, and reported without the restraints found in a professional job. Levels of bias can be included in a story, as can rushed reports without confirmed sources.

While these sites may lack the sophistication something like CNN or the New York Times has, they connect with audience members on a wide scale, and raise their levels of intrigue by creating more human elements to the news, and embracing rumor more freely.
Never before has such a major change happened within the journalism industry in such a small space of time. Due to the speed and the size of social media, it’s impossible to compete with. Trying to outdo it, out inform it, or ignore is completely futile. Journalists are left with only one possibility, and that’s to embrace it. It offers more to the industry than any invention before it, meaning success as a journalists now entails ones skill in navigating it.

In the past, the best journalist was he with the most connections, or he the best communication skills to pass on a message to an entire audience. Now, the best journalists of our age will be decided on a new basis: their ability to master the art that is the all-conquering social media… #socialMedia

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