I am one of those denied that the advent of online journalism will affect but not totally obliterate print journalism. But social media is something else.
In my view, since everyone with a smartphone on their hand is potentially a reporter and a photographer/videographer, this presents a tough challenge to conventional journalism.
By the time a conventional reporter tells us that story of an accident, a crime, a political development, a flood, a football match or a death, we have all seen it on social media, pictures, videos and all.
What does this mean for journalism as we have known it for centuries? What does this mean for journalism schools? Do they still admit and churn out in hundreds cadets who are trained to chase the ambulance and tell us the story in the prime time bulletin or tomorrow’s newspaper?
Have we reached the cul-de-sac of “who, what, when, where” journalism? I believe so. I believe journalism is going to be less reporting and more commentary and analysis.
I believe good journalists of this century and beyond are those that will major in other subjects like political science, commerce, science, technology and other disciplines where they can give us in depth analysis of events we would have already learnt about on social media.
The other form of journalism that has a future is investigative journalism, because social media is instantaneous and has limited space to investigate deeper.
I for one have ceased to be a consumer of news as we’ve known it. I spend at least three hours of my day on social media and I don’t need radio, TV or my newspaper to report a death, a coup or celebrity break-up.
What this means is that newsrooms are going to get even smaller going forward because conventional reporters will be less needed.
The upside of this is that the juniorisation of newsrooms may be reversed in preference of seasoned writers who can give analysis and educated opinion.
I also believe the good news story is going to get a new lease on life. With the “sex, soccer and sin” kind of journalism getting the first bite on social media, conventional journalism may just have to make more room for good news of philanthropy, success, peace, discovery and human interest.
And this will be good for the consumers of news media too, methinks.
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