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Social Media’s Impact On Journalism

Faith Lost In Mainstream Media

Journalism has changed dramatically over the last few years, and this is all down to technological advances and social media’s power. The inclusion of smartphones and social networks in society means it has become more difficult for journalists to break through into the industry, due to the nature of how information is spread.

social media journalism
Source: huffingtonpost.com
The meaning of the word has changed over this time period also due to the change in how we use the internet. It used to be a title reserved for professionals who dug out information and articulately communicated those stories via the written word, but now anyone can get hold of a camera, capture a moment and share it to the world in seconds. Committed bloggers can build heavy audiences, whilst communicating breaking news, thus taking the power away from paid professionals in the process. Content is now being created at a remarkable rate by talented writers who previously didn't have the opportunity to become educated to the standard of paid journalists.

Lots of content can be a bad thing though. You have to peruse through a whole lot of nonsense before you reach something of intellectual value at times, and this can be frustrating. This is the same in mainstream media though, and if you’re reading the Daily Mail you'll see this nonsense from front to back page. The internet has provided a platform where journalism isn't welcome anymore. News comes in the form of Instagram posts, tweets and short sharp articles, and this is no doubt killing off the art of journalistic venture.

Regardless of its source and form, the content we read online serves the same function as traditional journalism, but with more transparency most of the time. In the large, the internet is a free market, and individual bloggers don't usually have an agenda like the mainstream media who constantly informs its citizens that they are living in fear of terrorists, disease and financial meltdown.

The fact is, BuzzFeed is now considered a form of journalism in modern terms as it continues to attract consumers who wish to seek out news. Only the people decide what journalism is, not the pre-existing education systems that teach old methods and promote traditional form.

The people have decided that platforms such as BuzzFeed, Mashable and the blog you're reading right now are the new-age journalistic networks.
Source: wisegeek.com
Of course, Mashable doesn't use the same rhetoric as the Independent or the Guardian, but it does offer its readers another place to turn for answers and information, be it in a slightly more humorous way. It is now challenging the traditional media, and they must respond. According to journalist Stijn Debrouwere, “journalism is not being disrupted by better journalism but by things that are hardly recognisable as journalism at all.”

Why are they challenging traditional forms of journalism though? Well it’s quite obvious for some, who have simply lost faith in mainstream media. Every time you switch on your TV or read the front page of a newspaper, you are faced with terror, fear and poverty. Whether they tell you that Isis are coming to get you, or that the NHS is going to be privatised, there is rarely anything positive. This is why people are using the internet to seek out alternative information, and sources that don’t have political or cultural agendas.

A fine example of this was with the recent shootings in Ottawa, Canada. Since the tragic event, there has been an anti-islamic narrative that appears in the mainstream media. Already, there are assumptions being made about the assailant's religious activities, and the media is using this kind of speculation to reinforce tensions between the west and Islam.

It comes as no surprise that people are investing their time in alternative journalism, as mainstream media has become unreliable on serious issues. There are too many corporate agendas, and there is too much emphasis on human conflict to aid the richest 1%. The people are now waking up to this realisation, and social media provides a fantastic platform to seek out truthful news.


Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Social Media’s Impact On Journalism Reviewed by Alex Smith on Friday, October 24, 2014 Rating: 5
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