Today, the world of journalism is completely intertwined with social media and the active audience engagement of the general public. This interaction encourages a two-way stream of content, reactions and responses. Not only does this close connection of journalists with their audience effect the way news is perceived, but it also impacts the way news is spread and published in general.
We certainly live in an age that allows nearly anyone to create and publish content, and that has made journalism become a lot more complicated within the last decade. One positive outcome of this accessibility is the ease of citizen journalism—the news published by general internet users, rather than professional journalists. This can encourage news to spread quickly and efficiently in times of danger and need.
A downside that comes along with this ease of communication is the spread of fear. In a newsroom, there are ethical codes and moral values to follow, to protect the public and respect the privilege that we as journalists have to deliver important news.
The audience of journalism today is doing more than just reading. News is circulated among the eyes and ears of an active audience that is extremely hands-on and wants to be included in the conversation.
News has turned into a conversation completely, and one that has a two-way form of communication, between writer, reporter and reader. News consumers' habits changed when they gained the ability to be reporters themselves. Everyone has their own mobile device—their own camera, microphone, and keyboard, just like journalists do. The rise of citizen journalism is made up of active audience members who have the right to share their own sights and sounds (and sometimes opinions), making up our news feed.
The relationship between journalists and the audience today is a blurrier line than it was before the rise of mobile devices and social media. Journalists used to be the source of news, and the audience was the reaction, the listener. Today, we are closer to being the same. Each of us reacts to our own news—a two-way street.
Aside from the shifts in the audience, social media and mobile journalism has a big impact on journalism and reporters alone. We are able to take our job on the go, shooting on our mobile devices and posting almost simultaneously to social media. Social platforms like Twitter and Instagram allow us to engage with our audience easily, as well as continue to stay informed of what's happening.
Mobile and social media in journalism encourages convenience, but also a constant tie to technology and the entire audience. For me, this can become overwhelming. I think the most efficient way to take advantage of media and social in journalism is to prioritize a work/life balance, and use mobile devices only to our ease of communication and advantage.