Social media and our now digitally saturated lives mean the fabric of journalism has been forever altered, and largely for the worst. Information today is fast and easy to come by, and investigation is as easy as tapping away on a keyboard. The prevalence of Facebook, news apps on our smart phones, Instagram and Twitter mean our demand has changed, we digest media differently and expect news stories fast and updates almost instantly.
News media outlets now battle it out to bring you the “news” first… not the news most well written, or news most well thought out. Speed is the most important part of journalism… not whether the material reads correctly, or that credible sources have been quoted or that it’s even news. We deal now in “content” which we expect constantly, rather than the hard-hitting journalism which once upon time unearthed important issues and information.
A child dies and the journalistic content of the story stretches only so far. A child dies and more children are quoted in the media, based on what they’ve said on Facebook. No reporter actually speaks to these people; there was interview or one-on-one conversation.
Even the ghastly celebrity news just re-reports Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; things we could all easily subscribe to ourselves… if we were interested in. A journalist reporting on celebrities, either local or overseas, never actual needs to leave the house or put on pants, simply bash away on a keyboard.
Silly little faces and cartoon type images are now something to report on. Emojis are actually something worth mentioning in a “news” piece?! Journalism is no longer the art of bringing important news to the people; it’s the art of Facebook stalking and semi-skilled use of Google. We no longer read news articles but digital content, sausage rolls sit alongside elections. Literary drivel once reserved for Girlfriend magazine now lives proudly on the pages of once prestigious papers. I miss the days when you could spend all Sunday reading the newspaper, pouring over investigative pieces produced by someone who’d spent many hours obsessing and working hard, to bring you something that was well thought out.
The situation in which this global village or boundless community makes sense and prevails, is those situations of huge international significance. Digital technology crosses oceans and connects us all to stories like those of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and legalisation of same sex marriage, Those stories are now made more human, and delivered to us via a number of different avenues… the evening news, printed newspapers, digital newspapers, Facebook, news apps on your smart phone, websites, blogs, YouTube.
News stories are more accessible, information right or wrong is easier to stumble across and while traditional methods of journalism are potentially dying out, there is a new style of journalism…making all of us potential journalists!