Social Journalism? End to Ron Burgundy…

While taking undergraduate courses in journalism, we were given explicit training on how to construct a story and loop in video assets to support an unbiased view of the subject matter. Semester-long curriculum was centered around not only the grammar, tone and structure of formulating stories; but also the techniques for video editing.

Today, traditional rules of journalism are being transformed to compensate for the massive changes happening in the news media landscape. Individuals without journalism degrees can access tools allowing them to be part of the editorial experience through social media and more specifically their mobile device. CNN has already embraced this change and dedicates an entire section of their site to iReport, a platform allowing anyone to upload newsworthy videos for distribution throughout the CNN network. In essence, everyone on the street becomes a reporter allowing CNN to have cameras everywhere.

Another example of social media changing the face of journalism is the New York based startup, NowThisNews. The company was started by executives from Huffington Post, who assembled a team of journalists from ABC News, CNN, Washington Post (to name a few) to provide content that is easily accessed through tablet or mobile. For instance, clips have to be less than three minutes, and catchy so that they grow virally.

With the rise of tablets and smartphones, the way people watch TV is drastically changing, erasing old cable and evening news formats; allowing “second screen” to be more prominent. In addition, news is now spread in different ways, predominately through social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

My question to the class is:
Do you think traditional news on TV (ie. local daily/nightly news broadcasts), will completely change in order to compete with the competition of social media? If so, how?

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2 thoughts on “Social Journalism? End to Ron Burgundy…

  1. Love your title. Traditional news is definitely shifting. With increasing number of the population having access to camera phones and twitter accounts – news spreads like wild-fire.

    Companies like Reuters, Bloomberg and others are typically seconds away from each other on reporting breaking news. Since everybody breaks the same news at top speed, the reader could go to either one of these sources for her news.

    Some news agencies have taken the approach of adding an “opinion” flavor. For example the New York Times and Al Jazeera do extensive reports in which they incorporate interviews with experts, look at statistics and ultimately give you an opinion. I personally am more interested in the flavor of the story, not just where I picked it up first. This is where traditional journalist values kick in. Otherwise, anybody can find a “scoop” and blast a video on YouTube.

  2. I think that the traditional news media will have to change the way they present their news in the future in order to appeal to the way that the majority of their viewership ingests information. I think it will be a change akin to how websites have essentially changed to a constant stream of information in a blog scroll format to feed into the ADHD culture that we seem to becoming.

    With that said, I don’t think that user created news will replace the professional news services; there is a reason that people are trained to report, edit, and distribute news. The point of the news services is to (in theory) present a impartial reporting of the facts of any story. Going from that to a bunch of people with cell phone cameras screaming out what they see, in an unending stream of consciousnesses, will not meet up with the requirements of the modern world for accurate and insightful news.

    User driven media will likely take on more of a role with regards to providing extra coverage of any event. As we’ve seen in some situations of late, such as the NASCAR race where car parts flew into the stands, the cell phone videos provided an in-person view that the regular, network coverage couldn’t get. Those images certainly made the coverage of the story more real and in-depth. I think this would be the future of user-created “news”.

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