The news industry is changing rapidly. A few years ago you would see people drinking their morning coffee with a newspaper in hand. Now, you see people drinking their morning coffee with their mobile phone in hand.
The way we consume news is changing.
From Facebook to Snapchat, consumers like their news fast and accessible. So the question is: who is a journalist now?
With all of these platforms so easily accessible for everyone, the line is blurred from bystander to influencer to educated journalist. Do the majority of people care?
Let’s take a car accident for example. You are sitting on the patio of a sports bar and you see a driver coming 100mph down the residential street in front of you. You whip out your iPhone and take a video to show your friends what’s going on. All of the sudden your video goes from a crazy fast car to accident after the car hits oncoming traffic. You immediately call 911 and tell them what happens. When you get off the phone with the police you share your video on Facebook. Your video gets 10 shares. You take a few Snapchats of what just happened. You send them to your closest friends. You then take a picture of the police cars outside and you put it on Instagram.
The news teams just got to the scene. They want to talk to you, the police and everyone they can at the scene. They get back to their newsroom, talk to the producers and get it ready for the upcoming newscast. But, the newscast isn’t for another three hours.
This is a problem the TV News Industry is facing. When social media is so easily accessible, why wait to get your news in a 30 minute newscast when you don’t necessarily need to?
You can report via Facebook Live right from the scene. News isn’t necessarily meant to wait.
Television stations need to start integrating their news systems with social media. Now, the majority of local television stations use social media to push people back to their websites. In terms of numbers, this is the main goal. However, beyond the numbers is user consumption.
Yes, people all around the country still watch TV. But are they actually watching it? Do they have their mobile phone in their hand scrolling through Facebook?
These are the questions we need to start asking ourselves. To get news to viewers, we need to meet them where they want to be met.