Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Can Journalism Sustain in the 21st Century?

Erin Franczak
Journalism has always been considered a necessary evil. It helps to keep politicians and the powerful at bay, but also breeds "untrustworthy money-driven, privacy invaders" with a few more negative connotations. This article demonstrates why defining journalism is important.  Even with some of these negatives, journalism thrived, that is until it met its match, technology, and was almost defeated, barely surviving.

Journalism began when society emerged. It may not have been considered news yet, but it was around.  To survive and thrive, people need to communicate. At this time, it may have just been considered gossip, but people needed it to survive. Even today, most start our conversations still featuring some form of information sharing. We also would not be able to function without news. The chapters read used the example of censorship. Why does a dictator first take away the news? Because that is how to keep leaders transparent and government in check.

When technology began to increase and gave way to social media, journalists struggled to keep up. They were used to being in control of the news, rather than watching the audience do their work. Instead of focusing on the new opportunities that can give way, some faltered on their ethics and principles.

According to The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, some journalists began to focus on keeping their jobs rather than respecting the code of ethics. This meant that they may have begun taking bribes or exaggerating stories or any other way to keep views attentive and cash coming in. This produced more problems with viewers distrusting the identity of journalism.

The chapters I read also mention the ways that journalism should have evolved within the times. Kovach and Rosential said that for journalism to continue, so must ethics. I feel strongly with this statement that journalism can once again flourish if the steps of this article are listened to and followed well.

The writers state that we are no longer just writers. We must take all the user-generated content and the information we receive and sort through it. We need to find the best information and help the audience to understand it. We need to organize entertainment, news, relevance and current events.

Journalists also need to focus on using social media to their advantage. One really great example is when Cosmo took to snapchat. They use just enough content to get the reader interested, but also don't overload the page. It makes me really want to buy a subscription to Cosmo, but I'm too broke. Cosmo also interacts with readers through Snapchat by adding little bits that say things like, "Share with the squad if all your convos take place on Snapchat because having a track record of your texts is stressful AF."

Something like this is going to be shared and more people will be checking out Cosmo on Snapchat and through their magazines. Other magazines and papers use this tool as well. I just tend to gravitate towards it because they are so interactive with the user. Twitter and Facebook are two other prime examples of using social media to get in touch with viewers. I am constantly checking USA Today's and Fox 8's facebook page. Iphone and Android apps are also another way to interact with users and get more of an audience.

So, in my opinion, journalism CAN sustain itself in the 21st century.

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