A few years back, if a journalist was told that he or she would have to have a page on Facebook and Twitter to get audiences and even perform work so that their pieces could compete in a world full of fast information, he or she would have probably laughed with cynicism. In fact, there mere thought of there being a need to personally interact with an audience in order to maintain a job as a journalist, can be laughable as the first thought that runs through a journalist’s head when he or she writes a story is not “will this story sell?”
However, as the world converges into an era where information is a hot commodity and people not only compete to receive it, but rather, providers compete to distribute it, it has become crucial for journalists to build an audience and interact with those who are part of it on a regular basis. This is where the magic and advancement of technology come in.
Social networking websites have revolutionized the way that people communicate with each other as well as the way they communicate with media and how the way media communicates with them. Journalists can now be self-published, expand their network of sources, ask questions and obtain feedback on the web.
As mentioned in a previous post, some journalists, especially those who still regard social media as a tainting force of journalism, dislike mediums such as Facebook and Twitter because they can be a double-edged sword in terms of allowing journalists to increase their audience, but at the expense of rendering them vulnerable to receiving unwanted feedback and criticism.
Regardless of the possible criticism, most journalists who have turned to social media and are making productive and career-building practices through the Internet. For instance, in Marshal Kirkpatrick’s article “How We Use Twitter for Journalism,” the author relates to the fact that he gets ideas interviews from his followers, is able o compile data and performs research in a short amount of time with little to no hassle.
Not only that, but according to Ann Handley’s article “Everything I Need to Know About Twitter I Learned in J School,” journalists can apply the skills they already have to enhance their profession and their writing, their careers online through the use of social networking websites.
At this moment and time, journalists who are able and willing to use social media to enhance their jobs, have become a hot commodity. With the use of a hashtag, a tweet, a Facebook update, journalist have the world at their fingertips.