Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What is journalism in the digital age

Lexus Rodgers


While print and digital journalism typically follow the same pattern and have nearly the same set of rules and codes, online journalism varies slightly form that of the traditional print or broadcast platforms. The digital age has transformed journalism from an individualized profession to an activity almost anyone can participate in. With print or broadcast, the stories being told are going to be by people working for that organization whether they are full-time, part-time or freelancing. They are more than likely trained professionals who closely edit their work and possibly have a lot of experience in the industry.
With online or digital journalism, anyone can blog or write up an earth-shattering article. If they do not have formal training, are they considered journalists? The issue of even simple things like updating your Facebook status with a political statement could be considered journalism. I think that anyone can consider themselves a journalist if they would like to be referred to as that no matter they’re skill level. You can be an awful, novice painter, but you would be an artist nonetheless. When it comes to recreational social media use, it seems unnecessary to over analyze what a journalist is. Maybe it technically is journalism, but there’s no real issue here and most of these people would probably not refer to themselves as journalists.
            A real problem with online journalism is the fact that news sources can instantly edit an article and they often don’t bother to notify readers of any changes whether it be an alert that something has changed or a footnote stating that information was changed. Not only should editors notify the readers of changes, but also explain why that certain part of the article was changed. It was mentioned that editors should also explain how they came to write the incorrect information in the first place. I think it would be an interesting piece of information, but doesn’t seem completely necessary and it would also take up space. I think that should be up to the individual editor whether or not they’d like to include that information.


“Errors are inevitable, but transparency is not.” Errors are bound to happen but building on to the issue above, why are so many changes needing to be made? The digital age pushes for everything to be faster and instantaneous. This puts pressure on the writers and editors to pump out stories without having been properly fact-checked and read over. These apps that notify readers of changes are a great idea and extremely helpful. If trusted news sources want to remain trusted, they should consider adding in a markup area or a footnote that changes have been made. It would improve their image and keep people from sharing incorrect information online which could backfire for the individual and possibly reach many others, who are now also misinformed. Even with the pressures of the digital age, editors need to take the time to make sure they’re putting out the correct information the first time around.

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