Without question, modern journalists need to be able to effectively use digital and social media. Modern journalists should expect to have to adapt to an increasingly online world if they want to continue in their current career. If they weren’t ready to change and grow with the field, then they shouldn’t have entered it.
Print journalism is a dying field. Almost no one reads newspapers anymore, but almost everyone has a Facebook profile. Even members of older generations, who were comfortable with receiving their news in print, are going online. Journalists who want to maintain and grow their audience need to accept that digital media is a part of what they must do.
Newsgathering is time-consuming, but once a story is written it can be dispersed through several different media easily. In my internship at a PR agency, I have learned how businesses maintain their social media accounts, and it really isn’t that difficult. There are tools that can be used, such as Sprout, to easily post updates on several different social media accounts at once, and although Twitter allows only 140 characters, a journalist can easily put a link in their update that will lead an audience to read a full story, as long as the other 120 characters or so are enticing enough to grab their attention.
If an article is newsworthy enough, the Twitter update will write itself, and this is where the key is writing passionately, as mentioned in the article “Newspaper columnists ought to be the perfect bloggers” by Robert Niles. It isn’t difficult to manage social media accounts as long as a journalist feels passionately about their story. Even if having to add one extra step in publishing their story is a nuisance, it is a necessity in today’s digital world.
Niles’ article makes journalists sound especially stubborn and reluctant to change, and maybe they are. However, in a field that is struggling to keep up with a world that is changing and evolving rapidly, they need to be able to adapt. A journalist may feel that maintaining a presence on social media is a time-consuming challenge, but they must know that it is a part of their job, the same way that I know that asking every customer at the movie theatre if they want to upgrade their popcorn to a large is a hassle, but it is a part of my job. I may not be passionate about selling popcorn, but I feel that journalists are likely to feel a little bit more passionate about their job and a little bit more enthused about doing so, because it is the career that they have chosen. Change is scary and hard, but in order to be successful in journalism in today’s modern world, a journalist not only ought to be the perfect blogger… they have to be.