Jeff Gaspard
Communication in Global Context
November 7, 2018
The New Age of Journalism and How Twitter Became a Platform for News Reporting
From the very first article written to the most recent news clipping, journalism has been a major contributor to society’s progress. Reporting the news on a local or global level allowed the mass to stay informed and educated on what is happening around them and the world. Because of journalism ethics and regulations, we place our trust on what is being reported to be factual. As it relates to ethics, there is no single or simple answer. Certain principles should be applied to journalism, but they aren’t always utilized in the most effective manner. (Frost,2011) When social media became a platform for news reporting, the game had changed drastically.
At first people were just sharing data and insignificant content with one another such as pictures and comments about what they were doing, which is what Facebook and Twitter were originally intended for. As people started to get most of the news from online instead of the traditional ways such as newspapers or even local tv reporting, it wasn’t long for these platforms to become a carrier of news as well. One of the very first Twitter news reports came in May of 2001. Then president Barack Obama was going to address the nation about the death of Osama Bin Laden, but Twitter had already begun to report it online through social media. From that moment on, news gathering and sharing changed. Social media has not always been a best friend to news journalists, editors, etc. Many news organizations were hostile towards these new tools, finding it difficult to find and create authenticity in what was being distributed. Jillian C. York says “Using Twitter and Facebook, people share videos of demonstrations, debate the movement’s relevance, and analyze the mainstream media’s depiction of what’s happening in the streets… Social media now hold a vital place in this media ecosystem, filling informational voids left by…traditional media.” (York,2011) When compared to traditional broadcast media, social media appears to remove production and broadcasting constraints on the amount of media content. Twitter provides an ideal environment for assessing the extent to which the volume of content on social media is responsive to news events: Twitter content is generated by a diffuse group of users (Pasek, Jang, 2015). Can social media save newspapers? As of 2012, the distribution of newspaper content through social networking sites has become a common practice. Twitter is more effective than Facebook in terms of audience reach. While the results indicate a positive relationship among newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, Web, and print readerships, social media subscribers continue to represent a small fraction of print and Web users (Ju, Jeong, Chyi, 2014). Twitters’ success lies in its simplicity. It’s very easy to use and understand and it is highly accessible. More and more, we hear or read about an event or national news from social media, and often the news is true, but we as the audience are left to fact check what we see and read because social media does not have the same ethical and moral responsibilities as a journalist. That is one of many reasons why journalism still has a lot of value. Because there’s no set time on social media, many broadcast news networks are having to report on a 24-hour basis to stay current with what the world is watching. In this article by Ju, Jeong, Chyi titled Will Social Media Save Newspapers, I found a study that shows more than 100,000 weekday circulations have SNS (Social Network Site) to deliver their content suggesting that most people get their news online, whether through Twitter or a newspaper social network site. This study also found more users follow newspapers through Twitter as opposed to Facebook, and Twitter drives more traffic than Facebook to news sites. It is likely that Facebook users are not as interested in following the news while they are on Facebook. In other words, Facebook is a social network while Twitter is more of social media that is more news-oriented. Twitter is highly focused on reading and posting tweets. Even some media outlets find their news sources from Twitter or Facebook.
With technology’s fast-growing pace, most industries must find ways to compete and remain relevant. And that reality doesn’t escape journalism, but as we can see the best remedy is to incorporate what’s new into your already well-established practice. Yes, we are in a new age of news reporting and Twitter is a major contributor to that change. Journalism and journalists have found that there are more benefits to associating with those social network sites than standing on the sideline. American journalist Walter Cronkite once said something about how democracy depended on journalism, and I wonder if he had envisioned where we would be today. Most democratic countries practice free speech, but there are many that limit the flow of information so that their citizens do not have free and open access to the current events in their own nation, let alone around the world. Social network sites are by far the biggest vehicle for free speech, and at the helm of all of this change is;sid=376fb553-a9fc-4194-93a4-829e6485cd67%40sessionmgr101 Journalism Ethics and Regulation written by Chris Frost, London: Longman Practical Journalism 2011;sid=40ba2ce1-8a5c-4ad9-8626-bd81191c3e4d%40pdc-v-sessmgr02 Assessing the Carrying Capacity of Twitter and Online News written by S. Mo Jang and Josh Pasek Mass Communication ; Society, 2015.;sid=2e8df80d-4808-4fd3-963c-0507cec38628%40pdc-v-sessmgr05 Will Social media save Newspapers written by Alice Ju, Sun Ho Jeong, and Hsiang Iris Chyi Journalism Practice, 2014;sid=afe3784a-233d-4012-93aa-21a0b06188a2%40sessionmgr120 The revolutionary force of Facebook and Twitter by Jillian C. York Nieman Reports 2011

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