Journalism is a constantly evolving profession. Different publishing methods have differed in popularity throughout the years and more recently the introduction of smartphones has greatly influenced the way we deliver news. Such an advancement in technology has prompted journalists to use social media to engage audiences with news content.
In the 21st century, it is crucial that a journalist realises the positive effects social media has for this industry, here are just some:
It’s a new way to reach people
Although you may argue we have always been able to reach people through print and broadcast, social media takes this to a whole new level.
Audiences are becoming busier and it’s rare they are always able to read the whole newspaper or sit down to watch the evening news. However, they can still receive important news updates through their social media feed.
Let’s be honest, how often can we scroll through Facebook without seeing at least one news story?
The people in our online network who comment on, like or share these posts are to thank for that. Simple interactions like this are the reason why news can spread so easily nowadays and can reach more people than before.
Younger audiences are also jumping on board with the idea and social media is becoming their main source of news.
We can post directly from the scene
Thanks to the opportunities social media provides, it’s now easier to keep the masses informed about breaking news.
Yes there are live crosses but these usually have to wait until the 6pm bulletin. With Facebook live or Twitter we can now post news as it unfolds, in real time.
This is a pretty big deal for journalists because it helps us fulfil our primary role as a watchdog for the public. Audiences simply have to be on their mobile devices, which they usually are, to receive news updates and they can also use social media to track the progression of a story.
The people can interact with us
Communication is central to journalism and social media only enhances this. Instead of just publishing stories we are now able to interact with our audience and know their thoughts. For example, allowing public comment on content posted to social media encourages reader interaction and can be used as a lead for a new story.
Another perk is audiences can provide us with content by sending in pictures or videos from the scene of an event, which we can use. However, make sure you are always cautious of these sources and question their validity.
If the material is accurate though and can be used for reporting news, this is known as citizen journalism.
If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it’s basically members of the public providing information about a newsworthy event or topic. It’s yet another great benefit social media provides the industry.
How does social media influence the way you receive your news?
Has your consumption of news changed since the introduction of social media?