New Media: the Future of Journalism

Story by Kourtney Mather

With today’s technology, the reader is quickly becoming the journalist and vice-versa. This was the main topic of Thursday’s KUER live broadcast of “Radio West.”
In this broadcast, Doug Fabrizio, Matthew Ingram, Holly Mullen, Matthew LaPlante and Holly Richardson, all journalism professionals, discussed the ways in which journalism is evolving to keep up with today’s technology.
The cause of this phenomenon is partially because of how quickly information is spreading over the Internet through these networking sites.
“The media is all of us now,” LaPlante stated, “it starts to shift before the [professional journalists] can even get off their butt and go at it.”
This is because the news is such a constant thing. Nowadays readers are likely to get news off of Twitter hours before CNN reports the story. Once a story breaks, readers want updates as soon as they happen, and Twitter provides the perfect setting to announce spur-of-the-moment newsbreaks.
“New stories just kind of evolve, they don’t really begin and end,” Ingram said.
So what does this sudden eruption of self-proclaimed journalists mean? Journalists must learn to use blogs, Facebook, Twitter and any other social networking sites as a tool.  Any news story posted for a particular journalistic medium must also be posted on Twitter as a headline, or a link to the actual story on Facebook.
Journalism has become much more than simply reporting the news. The audience is now very closely interacting with current events. Before the popularity of Facebook, blogs and Twitter came about, journalism was simply a “shot in the dark” according to Ingram.
“Blogging transformed the way I thought about what I did because of the feedback,” Ingram said. “It became a process instead of a product. If you have comments and feedback, it affects the way you do your job: it becomes part of your job.”
These social networking sites, however, gray the line between libel laws, making them hard to decipher. Where do libel and privacy laws place in new media?
“You can’t sue the whole world, it’s not as simple as printing a retraction…libel law and those things are also in the process of evolving,” said Ingram.
This leaves writers to do their own self-editing and to be wary of First Amendment issues from younger and younger ages.
So how does classic journalism fit in with technology? LaPlant still believes that there is a place for it: “It’s a moment of reflection and pause,” he said, explaining that newspapers/magazines take news at a slower, less stressful pace.
Overall the discussion was informative for anyone connected with social networking or journalism.
“I like the aspect of the reader becoming the reporter,” said Meish Roundy, a journalism major at the University. “It really opened my eyes to the tools that are available for anyone to use.”
Some attending the event, however, were not so happy with the overall message.
“I think all these networking sites like Facebook or Twitter…make being a journalist so much more complicated,” said Sarah Hillam, a student at the University of Utah. “You are always having to keep up with changing technology.”
Whatever their viewpoint, aspiring journalists are going to have a lot of new technology to keep up with, with the increasing number of smart phones and tablets on the market.
LaPlante, however, gave advice for these future reporters when he said “be meaningful, be accurate, be relevant, be impactful.”
For more information, or to listen to this broadcast visit:

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