In nearly all of my journalism classes, we have talked about the struggles of dealing with today’s new media, and the challenges we will face going into the journalism field at a rough time. It is clearly important that we pay attention to these issues, but I have some thoughts. I read an article that explained how the audience is the real problem behind the fall in the market.
It’s clear that people access news in different, more convenient and time-efficient ways. It is plain and simple: people demand to have their information spoon-fed to them in the way that they want it, when they want it. And because that technology is available, who’s to say they shouldn’t take advantage of it? I am in full support of news being catered to audiences, but as a journalist, it is admittedly hard to keep up with as times change so dramatically from the traditional daily news or local paper.
But this doesn’t mean that the news media industry should just be sour and upset just because people can access news differently. I have compiled a list of a few main points about this whole issue, in my understanding.
1) Journalists need to realize that the demand for all different types of news is increasing, especially with the 24-hour news cycle that we live by now. Yes, there may be really pressing matters on Capitol Hill, but journalists have to understand that today, most people just want to watch the Royal Wedding. Frustrating? Well, “the customer is always right” and so if the audience wants it, then that’s what they need to be given.
2) Audiences need to understand that journalists are trying. There are lots of stories to cover, lots of facts to check, and lots of things to balance. So a bit of understanding if it isn’t exactly what you are looking for when you are looking for it.
3) With #2 though, audiences need to make a conscious effort to contribute their opinions to the news as to what they want to hear. Don’t stop supporting a news station because they don’t cover a certain type of news enough – use your voice! Write a letter to the editor; essentially, become involved and let your opinions be heard. Otherwise, there is really no right to complain.
4) Journalists need to realize that as technology develops, people become their own journalists. Though it might make a columnist cringe that people hear about their topic first over a Facebook status update, or a tweet from someone famous, it is what it is, and the only thing that is productive is to go along with it. Try to engage your readers and make them remember why they would look to you for news in the first place….re-establish that trust and respect, and ground yourself as the resource that should always come before mass rumors via social networking.
Oscar Wilde once said: “The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesmen-like habits, supplies their demands.” Makes sense, right? Let me know what you think.