Story by Rachel Maughan
Journalism is no longer owned and controlled by powerful people, it is owned by everyone. Last week at the University of Utah Doug Fabrizio from KUER radio hosted a live broadcast discussion on the subject of what journalism is becoming in modern times. Students from the university attended the event. Guests on the show included Matt Ingram, Holly Mullen, Matt Leplante and Holly Richardson who all have experience in reporting or blogging.
“Journalists are increasingly becoming the audience and the audience is increasingly becoming the journalist,” Leplante stated. One of the main focuses of the discussion was about citizen journalism, which is when common people even with no journalism training can make news.
“How do you become a citizen journalist?” Fabrizio said, “Be meaningful, be relevant and be accurate.”
Richardson, a member of the Utah Legislature, calls herself “a conservative social media journalist.” She has no official training in journalism but has her own blog and tweets the news herself. She says her news travels fast and in one tweet has received over 6,500 responses from different people.
“The Internet is turning into a small town,” Richardson said, “everyone knows your business and we largely volunteer away our privacy.”
Ingram had a similar view as Richardson. He said that people don’t need to have specific training to do journalism. One of the issues was that citizen journalists, due to their lack of knowledge about the laws of journalism, will be susceptible to libel cases. People may miswrite stories because of emotional responses. Ingram said that libel law will evolve due to the fact that anyone can respond and share the news.
Mullen said that libel and privacy issues are essential to teach in journalism school.
Leplante and Mullen both said that education in journalism is very important. They both saw the importance that journalists be taught news ethics and values.
The changes in journalism are also affecting jobs. Some people think that newspapers, magazines, radio and television journalism will cease to exist due to citizen journalism and the Internet.
“For people who want to go into journalism, they didn’t address how new media is affecting jobs. Is new media discouraging or encouraging for new journalists?” said Nic Smith, a journalism student at the University of Utah.
“You can’t run with the wolves when you pee like a puppy,” Mullen said referring to the pace of journalism. She talked about how it takes people with a lot of drive to survive in the social media world.
“I think that the traditional media is something that our generation needs to understand even though we weren’t really a part of it,” said Molly Wheeler, a political science major.
Journalism is changing. Internet sites such as Twitter and Facebook are becoming popular places for people to get their daily news. Though the Internet may seem to be taking over, there is still room for news articles and reporters.
At the discussion, they talked about writing news stories and some of the things to consider. Self editing is important and something to be aware of. Also, every angle and opinion transforms the story. News writing is an ongoing process.
“A story doesn’t have to be a beginning, middle and end, but ongoing,” said Fabrizio. Journalism will always be around. People want to know what’s going on around them and what it means. Citizen journalism is growing, but the speakers also assured that there will still be a place for writers in the future.