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How tech and the internet changed journalism

Do you remember the good ol days when newspapers were delivered to your door step and every week you would end up with a recycling bin full of them? Wait, some people still engage in said activity, but the majority of us have moved on… I remember being the paperboy and having routs in which I covered to deliver papers on a weekly basis. Now, we get online and read from a variety of sources and in some instances have push notifications sent to our phones, computers, and tablets regarding topics we are interested in. Any bit of information we want is at the tip of our fingers. If we don’t find it engaging or good, we don’t like it. If we do, we might create a facebook post about it or send out a tweet of some sort. The point is, The world of Journalism has changed and it is all thanks to the internet and the technology in which we use to engage with it.

We no longer want to read the boring, black and white newspapers. Instead we want media that is engaging. Media that we can touch, see, and hear. This may consist of a video, audio clip, or some pictures which are inserted into the content we are viewing. Instead of reading about a news event, we can watch that event or research further what’s trending about it.

Journalist are no longer just given the task of writing the news story, but instead are expected to have a variety of skills. They have to be able to record audio, shoot video, take pictures, create illustrations, and have the ability to edit all of the above mediums. This is, infact, critical as to whether or not they will be hired, kept, or let go from a job.

Image from artefactmagazine.com
Then and Now… Image from artefactmagazine.com

In my course, the reason for this blog, my professor talked about how some of the big newspaper companies had fired all of their photographers, in turn, handing their jurnalist the cameras and saying, “You take your own photos and create your own media.” Giving them no training at all. Personally, I think that sounds really harsh, but it is the world we live in now and as a journalist, one is expected to be a jack of all trades and have some form of knowledge to create their own content. My school, is actually developing a curriculum that encapsulates all of these skills that employers are looking for. It is going to be designed to help them be more marketable and competitive in the job market. As always, some will complain and grip and not see the value in being required to take such classes, but if they didn’t want to do that then why did the decide to attend a liberal arts school?

Mike Hoyt, executive editor of Columbia Journalism Review, sums it up by saying, “A great deal is the same. The job is still is try to figure out what is significant and interesting and go report on it, and tell stories, and try to disperse that as best you can, to the public. Of course all of those steps have changed along the way. What is significant and interesting has changed, how you report is changing somewhat, and how we disperse it is changing a lot. But the basic tools are still reporting and storytelling.”

The moral of the story is not that much has changed about journalism, as stated in Mike’s quote above, but that the medium in which we create and view has. Journalist of today need to be adaptive, have the ability to learn new skills, and create content in which the viewer can interact with and relate to. Don’t allow the medium to be what stands between you, your audience, and your dreams.

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