Information in the Times of New “Social Journalism”

26 Apr

Traditional media outlets have experienced constant alterations since social media forums became new, revolutionary tools of communication and interconnectedness. Social media outlets have been establishing themselves since the late 1990s turning journalism as we know it into “Social Journalism”.  A cooperation between in-depth research and the striving for objectivity on one hand, personal opinion and instant news gratification on the other.

Woody Lewis, a social media strategist defines a social journalist as a person with a “premeditated watchdog role who uses social media to communicate and collaborate with readers.” As the impact of social media emerges, conventional journalists representing print, radio, and TV are gradually losing their status of final authority or opinion-making on a specific subject. We experience revitalization and an overall new definition of writers’ and audiences relationships. Traditional journalists have to endure a critical audience and implement checks and balances for media representatives. While salaries within the traditional media market have been decreasing steadily and lifelong contracts are highly unusual today, social journalists often contribute for free, which not only means that new media is frequently not reimbursed for its work, but it also means that prize standards for the entire industry are going to be redefined and often to the disadvantage of the traditional journalist/editor.

A realistic option exists, that necessary quality standards in social media reporting might not be maintained. Because social media sites are not reliable news sources, unless they have an official news section, fact checking while blogging and tweeting is crucial. Social media outlets are at risk of distributing false information, which can as a result, skew public opinion. At the same time certain traditional news outlets within the US-American and international media landscape are skewing public opinion deliberately. On the contrary, of course, a wide and strong flow of information can bring forward social movements and as a result democracy.

This summary of notes and research looks at how traditional and social media can produce profound results when in cooperation.

–Lia Petridis Maiello

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