A digital revolution

15 Feb
Digital Media Outlets

Digital media icons. Digital media is changing the role of the journalist. Credit: bestpsdfreebies.deviantart.com

There once was a time when the future of journalism appeared grim. Now, it could not be more bright.

With a wide variety of media at our disposal and an overabundance of information at our fingertips, journalistic practices and tendencies are changing. In the long run, it may be for the better. The Internet is responsible for altering the ways in which our brains function, thus affecting the way journalists approach their readers. Journalists must be prepared for change.

In “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” Nicholas Carr discusses how reading habits in print differ from those online. Print readers often consume content on a more in-depth level, engaging in the story. Online readers typically skim or browse a number of different stories. Because of the efficiency and immediacy of online media, it weakens our ability to “deep read.”

In “The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete,” Chris Anderson says that the great deal of data online changes our perception of the world. As it relates to Carr’s article, Anderson says Google’s founding philosophy is that we do not know why one page of information is necessarily better than another. This leads to our inability to determine which information is credible or not credible, making us “stupid,” so to speak.

In “New Rules” by Thomas Friedman, he claims that “technology and globalization are wiping out lower-skilled jobs faster, while steadily raising the skill level required for new jobs.” I find it difficult to argue with his idea. It is a given that the world is changing right before our eyes, and new patterns are emerging. Journalists have to work longer and harder to do their job effectively.

The three articles above bring me to the main question: What is the role of the journalist in today’s society?

In “Rethinking the Role of the Journalist in the Participatory Age,” Alfred Hermida admits that defining who is a journalist in today’s society is a difficult question to answer. Questions such as “Who is a journalist?” and “What is journalism?” are open to an individual’s interpretation, simply because the field is more involved than it has ever been before.

In “Changing journalism, changing Reuters,” David Schlesinger discusses the loss of value and respect in the journalism field, stating that more than half of Americans do not trust mass media to do what has always been its primary goal – to report the truth. There was once a time where most news organizations stressed the accuracy of a news story over its immediacy. That was before the technological revolution of today. Now, while accuracy is still the most important attribute of a story, far more emphasis is placed on being the first to report a breaking news story. Competition in the journalism field is fierce.

The journalist’s job is far more complex than it has been in past years. He or she must be able to report the truth quickly and be able to use various technologies to provide audio and video content. It is not a world for the weak. Truth is, until the technological revolution slows down, which may not be for some time, it will be fairly difficult to cast journalists into a specific role because they are constantly adapting to change.

What do you think is the role of the journalist?

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