Journalists are expected to do it all now. On top of investigating, researching and writing an article, to being their own photographer and videographer, journalists are also expected to post all of that content on several social media platforms.
Needless to say, a journalist’s pool of tasks has doubled and requires a lot of time in a fast-paced web world. So is it necessary for journalists to do it all?
A journalist’s job is to reach the public and the best way to do that now is through social media. Journalism made its transition from being print-centric to digitally centralized, and to effectively share news to the public, the people must have access to news in the easiest way possible: through their phones.
Robert Niles discusses in his article, “Newspaper columnists ought to be the perfect bloggers. So why aren’t more doing it well?” that “Social media tool are just that… tools,” and I absolutely agree. Social media is a tool that journalists can use to expose their work more effectively.
Like painters have their canvas and singers have their microphones, journalists now have social media.
Social media allows journalists to reach wider audiences. Niles said, “You can do work you believe to be great, but if no one reads it or no one who does cares, what was the point?” Social media gives journalists the opportunity to build a community of followers that read and care about the work they present.
But like I asked earlier, is it necessary for journalists to do it all? Absolutely not. But I do think it’s necessary for journalists to learn it all. They must be able to do traditional journalism right alongside modern journalism.
According to Gwen Teckel’s article, “Traditional Journalism: Is it Old News?” traditional journalism is defined as journalism work published through “traditional” outlets such as papers, radio and television, while modern journalism is defined as work published on blogs, websites and social networks.
The ideal journalist now is one that is both.
Just like many other professions, technological advances have appeared that require professionals to change and adapt. For example, surgeons may begin to use cutting-edge technology, but they are still required to know the basics of a surgery. The same goes for journalists. They may have to know how to tweet, snap, Instagram and post on Facebook, but what good are all of those skills if the main content isn’t written and researched well?
Modern journalism intertwines with many aspects of traditional journalism and I believe it always will. There will always be people who prefer news the traditional way, others who prefer it the modern way and people who prefer it both ways.
I’ve encountered many people who say that traditional journalism is a dying art but it’s not. It’s an evolving one, and it’s crucial that journalists– new and old– evolve with it.