“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” This was the familiar marketing spiel of the iconic little boy, with cap on head and suspenders, selling newspapers, hot off the press in old school movies. In days of old, the reporter with a notepad, pencil or pen went in search of the story and wrote it all on a typewriter. Then, with the invention of the radio at the start of the twentieth century and television in the 1950’s, journalism went from exclusively print to broadcast too, and despite rumors of the demise of the newspaper, all three co-existed and found their respective niches. However, technology has changed journalism significantly in the 21st century.
Firstly people no longer go in search of the news, they expect the news to come to them. “Remember those days… [when] the news cycle in the publishing game was 24 hours… now the news is constant, available anywhere at any time. All the time” on our laptops, tablets, smartphones and watches (Charalambous, 2013).
The accessibility of news is largely due to “Social media … [which] has become influential as a communication and news-breaking tool. In June 2009, the U.S. State Department asked Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance on the service because it was being used by protesters angered by the results of Iran’s disputed presidential election” (Alejandro, 2010).
Technology has also resulted in the rise of the citizen journalist. “When users post news and videos to social media sites, other users interact (both positively and negatively) to the information being shared” (DeMers, 2013). As a result, traditional journalists, who also produce stories for online, must ensure the accuracy of their articles, in an effort to save the credibility and integrity of the traditional news agencies.
In addition, “at the start of 2015, 39 of the top 50 digital news websites have more traffic to their sites and associated applications coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers” (Mitchell, 2015). People access news on the go. I, like many others, access my Twitter account on my smart phone intermittently throughout the day to keep abreast with local and international news. While Twitter is my platform of choice for news, “2014 research revealed that nearly half of Web-using adults report getting news about politics and government on Facebook” (Mitchell, 2015).
Media consumers, young people especially, are still interested in the news, maybe even more so since they can readily access it on multiple devices. However, audiences today, unlike audiences of the twentieth century, no longer want to be just recipients of news but participants in the storytelling. They want to comment on and share what they see, read, watch and hear. Journalism has changed forever.
Alejandro, J. (2010). Journalism in the age of social media. Retrieved from https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Journalism%20in%20the%20Age%20of%20Social%20Media.pdf
Charalambous, S. (2013, October 2). 5 ways tech is changing the face of journalism (but not the internal organs). Retrieved from http://memeburn.com/2013/10/5-ways-tech-is-changing-the-face-of-journalism-but-not-the-internal-organs/
DeMers, J. (2013, May 8). How social media is supporting a fundamental shift in journalism. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jayson-demers/how-social-media-is-suppo_b_3239076.html
Mitchell, A. (2015, April, 29). State of the news media 2015. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/2015/04/29/state-of-the-news-media-2015/