Is Social Media Ruining or Helping Journalism?

As everyone knows, technology is expanding every day. Hand in hand with these improvements are new forms of social media. Chances are if you are under the age 50 you participate in some form of social media whether it be Facebook, twitter, instagram, you name it. These are just the most popular ones; there are a zillion other forms of social media out there waiting to be used. What these social media outlets are doing are giving people all over the world a voice. At first glance, this sounds like a great advent. People are able to get their own words across like they have never been able to before in history. However all these outlets pose the question: is social media ruining or helping journalism?

Like any valid argument, a case can be made for both sides. Traditional journalists could make the case that it is ruining the craft that they are used to and comfortable with. All journalists can agree that the most important aspect of the profession is of course the content, in that it needs to be factual and unbiased. While most social media outlets are platforms for people to give their own opinions, it can be argued that these opinions can be influencing content put out in major news outlets. For example, if a well respected journalist tweets something opinionated from their verified twitter account, it could be perceived as news although it was not supposed to. Also, with so much being said through social media that could be used for an actual store, journalists have to be more careful than ever when it comes to trusting what they read.

Along with social media, the new wave of blogs and start up “news websites” have greatly impacted the journalism world, in more ways than one. Aside from the advent of blogs allowing anyone in the world to publish their own material, it is undeniable that blogs and online magazines/newspapers have changed the style of traditional journalism. It is very common in this day in age to see long form pieces or on the flip side, short articles featuring more visuals, such as Storify. But just like the social media outlets, journalists have to be very careful obtaining information they read on blogs.

The case can also be made that the expansion of the internet is what is keeping journalism alive. With the print newspaper slowly dying out, the improvements in social media are giving journalists a new lease on life. Through outlets such as Facebook and twitter, journalists can provide links to their online articles. Not just that, but social media has given journalists a platform to engage with readers and get a sense of what they want to be reading, or their own thoughts of what they have read. These type of journalist/reader relationships have only been seen during the social media age, and one could argue that it is improving the content overall.

To answer the question of whether the impact of social media on journalism is positive or negative, it depends on the type of journalist. The traditional journalist who only believes in classical print newspaper style would make the case that it is harming the field. Thew new age journalists would argue however that they are failing to keep up with the times, and that social media is keeping their profession alive.

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