The question of whether or not journalists today should be expected to learn and use digital journalistic techniques is a valid question, indeed. With social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook dominating the internet today, journalists should almost be required to have these two forms of social media and to update their followers daily about what is going on in the world and how they feel about it. Some journalists have expressed that their concern is it takes up too much time, further robbing them from spending more time perfecting their columns — the more important of the three.
In his article entitled “Newspaper columnists ought to be the perfect bloggers. So why aren’t more doing it well?” Robert Niles wrote: “What you want to elicit are experiences – first-person accounts that other readers might relate with, drawing them into the conversation as well. Find issues within all those in your community about which you are most passionate, and write about them. Solicit first-person accounts from your readers, and reward the best of them with a personal public response and follow-up questions.” I couldn’t agree more.
Social media is just that – social. If a person wants to gain followers and establish themselves as Twitter and Facebook savvy and credible in those areas, they must make the content of their writing more personal so that others can relate to it, just as they may do in their columns. I think it no different than people commenting on online articles, stating their opinion, agreeing or disagreeing. If a journalist or columnist provides his or her readers with feedback or answer any lingering questions they may have about the content of their work, they have already established a relationship with that reader. Sure, it may take some time, but the important thing I think journalists today need to realize is that readers are also changing with the times and the different forms of communication that come with it.