Since the introduction of the internet, the role of journalism has constantly been changing. With so much information readily available to the public much of the power that journalists once held has been lost. Social media, in particular, has transformed the way journalists conduct business, communicate and interact with society. So what does this mean for young journalism professionals entering this media landscape?

Well for starters social media has completely reversed the traditional roles. The audience is no longer waiting for news to come to them but instead, they have become the producers of news, sharing stories online before journalists even hear about them. Journalists are even turning to social media and using it as a way to gather information and find sources and even engage with audiences. Social media has created a new system for journalists to exchange information with their audiences and allow reporters to resourcefully locate information with more ease.

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With an increasing number of people turning to online channels to retrieve information, magazines and newspapers are quickly becoming obsolete.

This media convergence means journalists have shifted from traditional reporting and are now adapting to new methods. Social media channels are now commonly used as a cost effective approach of sharing articles which allows reporters to reach a larger audience. However, this often means content needs to be written to appeal to a mass audience for it to be shared to multiple different social media networks. Instead of producing academic and intellectual articles, journalists are forced to abandon their traditional writing methods and produce concise content that utilises simple English and common themes. This has perhaps been the biggest obstacle for journalists to overcome but as the World Wide Web also increases competition they must adapt to stay viable.

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To effectively engage with their audience it is important for journalists to use language that is relevant. The internet & social media channels are quite literally creating new words and giving new meanings to existing words. Words first originating from social media or the wider Internet have become so commonly used in everyday speech that they’ve now slipped into our vocabulary. For example, Google is an excellent example of how an online brand has become so powerful it has managed to creep into the English dictionary. The phrase “Google it” has globally replaced the phrase “search for it” in everyday speech. Even acronyms have become more popular in a social context such as “Lol” which now many either prefer to say then laugh out loud. It is undeniable that new media is rapidly changing the way we communicate and will continue to do so. Thus for modern journalists to successfully engage with their audience they must ensure they are employing language that is also commonly used.

The unfortunate reality for aspiring journalists is that their roles are in a constant state of flux. To stay viable and relevant in this shifting industry it is to keep informed in all the current trends. History has taught us that media is a constantly evolving entity and professionals must be adaptable to be successful.

By Sanda Vesara

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