Social Media and Journalism Class Discussion 1

In class on Monday, September 19th, our class discussed the pyramid of competences and compared the role of the audience and the role of the journalist in modern society. In my group for the pyramid of competences, we had an approach that was unique to the other groups in our class. We placed “culture” at the top of our pyramid and worked our way down by determining what we believed to be the elements that made up culture and where we got those elements from, and so on down the rest of the pyramid. For example, directly below “culture” we placed “civics” and “mission and purpose” because we believe those two things are what ultimately make up the way a culture operates in a given society. I thought this was a very interesting discussion overall because I got to hear the varying perspectives of my peers on this topic with so much variability as it is.

In response to a question “The ability of anyone to make the news will give new voice to people who’ve felt voiceless — and whose words we need to hear. Do you think the ability of anyone is enough?,” to which I say that this ability of anyone is enough for a start. I don’t think the ability of anyone to create and report news is enough for the entire public to depend on because not everyone is an educated, trained, and qualified journalist. However anyone can start a conversation, share an idea, or post their opinion that can spark a news story or widely talked about topic, but there have to be professional journalists involved.

Lastly, there is a similar theme mentioned in the reading that “anyone can become a journalist at little cost, and within global reach.” I both agree and disagree with this statement. I believe that any average person with a smartphone these days can take a picture or a video and post it for the whole world to see, but I don’t think that makes them a journalist. I think that makes them a person with the desire to share something they deemed as important. However, an argument can be made that because of the speed this average person was able to put this evidence out into the world, it puts them in the lead for visibility, ahead of journalists. Although I think a journalist would take that video or photo that someone posted and turn it into a story. The journalist would take the evidence, gather more, interpret it, and then give it a name.

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