For so many of us technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. So much so that many feel anxiety when they are unable to surf the internet or see if their friends “Like” their recent Facebook posts. While a vast majority of us have embraced this new way of life, some still don’t seem to understand the importance of an online presence.
Journalists are quickly finding that the Internet is both their friend and enemy. In this age of instant access, news outlets are constantly at odds with providing up to date information while still adhering to the SPJ Code of Ethics. Too often journalists post information online long before is has been vetted. On the flip side however, the public constantly demands the most up-to-date information and often seek out sites that provide it, even if it is false.
Journalists need to learn how to use new forms of online communication effectively and ethically. Unlike the days of print-only, journalists are now on the clock and need to be ready to provide information quickly to feed a hungry audience. Journalists need to know what forms of online communication are the most effective and efficient to get their stories out. Furthermore, journalists should constantly be looking at what lies ahead. The Internet is constantly expanding and changing, what is in today can be out tomorrow.
Not only should journalists know how and where to post their content, but they should also know from whom and where they should source their content. With breaking stories, many journalists hit social media sites to seek out those who say they were affected by the story. Unfortunately, many online “trolls,” those who post a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument, make up stories or eyewitness accounts to hamper news agencies. This where following up and fact-checking come into play. Journalists must seek out sources that can confirm or deny the primary source’s information. There is no excuse for sloppy journalism.
A successful journalists in today’s world can entice readers both in print and online. The days of a one-trick-pony reporter are long gone.
“Troll” definition provided by Urban Dictionary.