Reviewing the State of the Media

For anyone who thought reading news on the Internet and social media were just fads, think again. After reading the State of the Media report, conducted by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, thoughts were confirmed that the online trend is gaining speed.

Times are changing rapidly, and I feel nervous but excited for the future of journalism. Newsroom sizes are shrinking, but there is just as much news as before, if not more. Advertisements are becoming more important with the rise of online reporting, and social media sites are starting to play a large role in journalism, too, as they bring traffic to news sites.

But as focus shifts from traditional to nontraditional forms of media, other changes are also occurring. A study shows that nearly half of Americans get at least some of their news from a mobile device. And with the number of tablet owners growing rapidly, it is clear the number of people who get news from mobile devices will increase.

After letting information from the report soak in for over a day, I am still trying to grasp some of what I read. Most of it does not surprise me, but as a future journalism professional, it made me stop to think about what the industry will be like in a few years. That thought is particularly daunting to me. But it also makes me realize the exciting possibilities for journalism in the future.

The report said, “It may be that in the digital realm the news industry is no longer in control of its own future.” This is a daunting thought to me, but as I think back to the history of journalism, I realize that many drastic changes have happened over the years. Some of the changes had a positive effect and others negative, but for better or worse they happened, and journalists figured out how to adapt. I can only hope that we as a society can find a way to improve upon current journalistic traditions.

Although I can’t predict what will happen, I hope that journalism will grow and adapt, and thrive with these changes–and I hope I will also grow in those ways.

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  1. I found this post really interesting – I’m a Communication and Media student at Bournemouth University, and lots of your points tie in with a feature I’m currently writing about the effect of social media on journalism. Would you say the influence of social media is shaping professional journalistic practices, and is this largely beneficial or detrimental?
    Many thanks for your help.

  2. I definitely think social media has started to influence professional journalism. Almost every sort of news outlet has a Facebook page and a Twitter, which are used to publicize the outlet and inform fans/followers. I don’t think there are many (if any) outlets that could survive today without these tools in a world that has become so encompassed with social media.

    As for whether this is beneficial or detrimental, I would say a little bit of both. Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media like Digg and Delicious can all help people share stories and article they find interesting. They draw traffic to news sites.

    At the same time, with the social media boom, the definition of who is considered a “journalist” is changing. Journalists are no longer just people who work in a newsroom or with a TV news crew.

    Despite the negative effects, social media is here to stay, so we might as well embrace it!

  3. Thanks very much for your response. I agree that the structure of news is being influenced by changes in consumer habits. Your point about the definition of what makes a jounalist is interesting though – social media is generally hailed as a revolutionary, liberating tool in citizen journalism, but I think sometimes such input is driven by the desire to be the first to report on something or to be ‘part of the action’, perhaps at a cost to the quality of the content.

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