Newsmaking in Social Media
Progress is good; but is it? Just about 2000 years ago, around 59 BC , as ordered by Julius Caesar, government announcements were hand-written on paper and posted in public places. That was first steps. In 17th century newspaper was born as we know it today, printed and edited. Therefore editorial media was born.
Editorial media was also having progress for last three centuries and 20th century with it’s fast and efficient technologies help enormously to print and distribute content as fast as possible; newspapers could tell stories which happened just yesterday, but they couldn’t tell thing in live, like TV does… or the internet. This brings us to most interactive way of communication and news-making men ever created, social media.
Today, anyone can become a journalist in a seconds, just by registering a blog; or can they? Are bloggers journalists, where no journalist license exists? Not surprisingly, most bloggers insist that they are journalists, entitled to equal rights with older media, on the other hand Los Angeles Times media critic David Shawn once criticised blogger for calling themselves journalists because they have no experience, editors, and standards.
Personally I do agree with this statement, but how to define a blogger and a journalist? By web-site layout? Of course no, it would be stupid. By experience? Well, maybe. By content? There is no way to define journalist from blogger, unfortunately, internet’s amazing interactivity made both of them journalists, and some of them are god and some of them are rubbish.
Does it look like a progress? No, not even slightly. Social media has become a killer of editorial media and many serious news-gathering organisations, just because news on the internet is free; free and rubbish, but no-one cares about second.
In my mind there can be no progress in social media just because it never will be as good as a editorial one (see statement above by David Shawn), but the technologies that social media gave us are the right ones. There is no better place for news discussion than a blog comment section or some kind of discussion board, there is no faster way to spread news than Twitter or Facebook.
People pay for newspapers, that makes some profit for news-gathering organisations to keep doing the job they can do best, professional editors are also payed to do there job, so are critics, journalists, and everyone evolved in news-making and newspaper production. There is even a typography specialist to make text clear, easy to read and not tiring while reading long articles. Most importantly news are gathered from very trusted and proven sources. None of these things are done while news are generated by people, some thing are changed time-time, no sources are provided, some blog designs are so bad that they can make you blind if you read them permanently, but because it’s free people read that. There is nothing bad in reading user-generated news, but this forces editorial media to publish it’s information for free too. Which drops sales of newspapers, salaries of editors and real journalist/columnists and as a result kills that news-gathering organisation at all.
One killed news-gathering organisation is one less proven source of information, even for the user-generated news.
Now let’s imagine the worse situation even imaginable: There are no news-gathering organisations left, people know only news from other people. Reminds you anything? Back to 58 BC + internet which spreads those unproven news even faster than in 58 BC. Progress? Definitely not.
Today world needs editorial news more then ever before and there is only one way I can see it can survive. We have to pay for the news just as we did few decades ago, when we where buying printed newspapers. Just because screen can display anything and news are not materialistic like newspapers doesn’t mean news became free now; news-gathering organisations still have to work very hard to collect those pieces of information, and we have to respect those people who run on battlefield along with solders, holding a camera or voice recorder instead of weapon.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against social media, it’s brilliant for spreading news very fast and doing some arguments with each other, but bloggers, seriously, we are not journalists even if we want that, we are just people who can write about something we’ve seen. Let this job be done by professionals, just because to avoid gazzilions of misunderstandings and false information.
And secondly, always read editorial media news, and never be ashamed to pay $5.00 for newspaper/e-newspaper subscription.
Technologies provided by social media development are fantastic, use them wisely.