As a reporting student, I am very passionate about the field of journalism and its power as an insitution. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way we consume news media. Many scholars and veteran reporters question the evolution of the news — is journalism dying? I was asked this question on the first day of my first ever reporting class almost two years ago. I still think about it all the time. I know I already wrote a post about changing journalism, but I think it’s such a prominent topic worth discussing.
When we look back at the history of journalism, we’re looking at print and subscription based publications. Newspapers became an activity rather than news consumption – people always had a paper. On the train to and from work or at the breakfast table on a Sunday morning. The US is a newspaper society. Up until the past 20 years or so, we didn’t have the internet, therefore journalists didn’t have the vast resource that the internet is. There was a different kind of excitement found through reporting. (If you haven’t seen All The President’s Men, I highly recommend watching. So good!)
Now with the internet, we have a different way of researching, reporting, and reading the news. Journalists have so many more resources to access for more detailed and thorough investigations allowing for deeper stories. News is also based on a 24-hour news cycle, meaning there always will be stories to fill the spaces during tv programming.
What I am super interested in is the way we consume news media, specifically through social media. Twitter has become an essential reporting tool. Looking at the tragic attacks today in Brussels, many people turned to Twitter to stay posted. News organizations post to Twitter to keep stories updated. Of course with SO much information available online, and oftentimes in attacks such as this, correct information can easily be confused or mis-reported. A news podcast I listen to posted this breaking news consumer handbook to remind us to be critical consumers and not believe EVERYTHING we see on our newsfeeds.
So this brings us back to the question, is journalism dying? No. It never will. There will ALWAYS be news to report and stories to read. That will never change. Journalism and the press as an institution are stronger than ever, especially in terms of international relations and political reporting in the US. I think the WAY we read and share the news is changing. Social media is completely transforming how quickly we can get the news and updates, forcing news sources to post images such as the one above.
I think the internet is critical tool in the way we communicate, whether it’s through the news or social media or other parts of the internet. There will always be news to report and stories to share. That will never change.