Breaking news spreads faster than Californian wildfires on social media platforms. Facebook and Twitter have become dominant sites for news consumption and are often the first place that people
More powerful than this is that the sites are filled with follow up stories, comments and opinions. Social media news outlets produce throughout the day. Hold a pointer finger to the screen, pull down and wallah! News.
Studies prove that not only has the use of social media platforms as news outlets increased, but the popularity of 24/7 consumption is rising as well. Those who claim journalism as a profession must now compete with citizen journalists, have a presence on all platforms and publish frequently throughout the day in order to stay relevant, right? Maybe not.
Today journalists cannot be as concerned with producing the news first, as they once were. The focus has to shift to the importance of the verification of news that people may already know. This is where the relevance for the journalist remains- credibility.
WikiLeaks fed internet users information concerning mass surveillance well before Edward Snowden. There was little talk of this big news until Snowden put a face on it. He was the verification that people needed to feel the weight and importance of the issue.
The focus of journalism is not the only thing that has changed. Core values and codes cannot be abandoned but like all good things must bend with the changes of time. Intimidation of the Internet cannot change the responsibilities of a journalist. While the speed of news has changed one core value remains: truth. Journalists must continue to seek and shine light upon truth. How this truth is explained may need alteration. This is where the importance of confirmation lies.
The stress on the importance of independence has become nearly impossible to uphold in an age where the importance of social media rises. When life details appear on the world wide web transparency is key, and personality is encouraged. Journalists can put much of their lives online without fear of it leading to attacks on their reporting.
While minimizing harm is still a question of ethics that journalists must ask themselves before going public with information, bigger steps must now be taken. The building of community is vital in reaching large audiences even after the original news is shared. In a world filled with citizen journalists (and their readers) people need and want to feel involved.
The news is still for the people. The people may beat us to the punch, but they need us to prove it, support it and give more than they already have.