The face of journalism is constantly changing as new Internet sites are created to share information and technology improves to allow people to use it without special training.
And because it’s so easy to post information, some traditional news organizations have expressed concern that information outlets such as “content farms” need to be controlled for quality.
But are content farm news sites really threats that need to be quality-controlled?
For example, Patch.com seems to operate more like a Facebook page for a city or town rather than a newspaper. The content doesn’t seem to be designed to be news read by people across the nation or even across the state.
The Patch.com content brings together both local news and social information, and is a form of journalism, but because it’s so social, it doesn’t need to be quality-controlled like a news site.
But that isn’t to undermine the importance of social networking to businesses, both in the media world and out of it.
For media, social networking sites like Facebook allow reporters to get in touch with sources they wouldn’t otherwise know to contact, and they can learn about potential stories they wouldn’t otherwise know to follow.
But at the same time, social networking can make it hard to draw the line between public and private information. It’s provided valuable advances, but the capability it has to bring the audience and news outlet together also emphasizes how important it is for the two to remain separate.
Another downside to the increasing use of social media by reporters is that information from the Internet isn’t as reliable as getting information from sources in person, and searching for sources online limits the diversity of your contacts.
I know it sounds like every news group, even local news, is moving toward the Internet and away from print papers, but traditional forms of media are still in demand in small towns and cities, according to a study conducted by The Reynolds Journalism Institute.
The study indicates that although blogs and websites are popular, they probably aren’t taking over the media. Similarly, citizen-journalism probably isn’t taking over the media, either.
There is definitely a growing group of untrained citizens who are learning to use technology to produce their own opinions, but it isn’t becoming a ruling class that dictates the news. There will probably always be a demand for news in paper form, and there will always be people who want their news in one reliable spot rather than scattered across various blogs, websites, videos and radio shows.
Lastly, many articles mentioned that the heads of media organizations are expressing concern for journalism’s future as far as quality and credibility are concerned. And yet, the leaders of some of those organizations, the Tribune Company for example, can be criticized for taking unearned bonuses and driving the company into the ground.
Situations like that make it necessary to question why reporters would even want to continue working for a traditional news organization.
I suppose that just like there will probably (and hopefully) always be an audience demanding print journalism, there will always be professionals committed to providing it.