Week13: One-Dimensional Journalism No Longer Acceptable

15 Apr

While the Internet continues to evolve and grow daily, journalists of all different facets are facing the challenge of how to evolve and grow with it.  As time goes by, the distinction between radio, broadcast and print journalism is fading.  Journalists who in the past may have considered themselves “print only” are beginning to realize that this is no longer an option — they must expand their skill set to include much more.  Reporters are taking their own photographs for stories and journalists are editing their own content before publication, while regularly maintaining blogs as well.  Demand is up, but revenue is down. This is forcing publications to blend their resources together, resulting in the creation of the modern-day multi-functional journalist.

Contrary to the past, people today don’t seem to care where their news comes from.  They may turn to social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter, or to nightly news programs on TV.  Some even rely on websites such as Wikipedia for information, even though that information is not guaranteed to be accurate or reliable.  On average, people in the U.S. spend about 12 minutes a month on news sites, compared with seven hours a month on Facebook, according to the Neiman Journalism Lab.  To some journalists, this may be very alarming.  However, I believe this just reiterates the importance of a well-rounded journalist in this modern age of the profession.  Being one-dimensional won’t get you very far.  In order to be successful and really connect with a wide audience, today’s journalist must be able to blog, report, photograph and edit single-handedly.

In addition to being multi-dimensional, journalists must be wary of overloading their audience with too much information. Whereas readers may have received their news from one or two sources in the past, they now have the ability to aggregate information from several different sources and media outlets.  This is why grabbing and keeping the reader’s attention is of utmost importance.  Linking is also a fundamental way of inserting extra information into a story without overwhelming the reader.  By linking certain words or phrases, this allows  readers to do more research on the subject if they wish, without taking away from the original content.  Ultimately, your goal as a journalist is to get as many people as you can to read your content, while maintaining accuracy and professionalism.  This is becoming increasingly difficult to do.

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