There has been a major shift to digital news reporting in the past several years that has created a lack of trust between the news media and its audience. Due to the growth of new media (Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) more and more people have become “journalists” without any formal training. Having said that, these “new media journalists” are failing to understand that there area code of ethics when reporting the news. The number one lesson to learn about reporting is to take responsibility of your writing. This lesson is being taken for granted so much so, that legitimate news agencies have been caught copying information from new media journalists who have gotten the story incorrect, and gotten into big trouble from it just because they wanted to be the first to report the news.
With a Social Media environment around us, one could say that it is difficult to find any kind of news happening within my area (Raleigh, NC), however how one reports the news is certainly changing. When I look on the Internet, I find more opinion than reporting. We use channels such as Facebook and Instagram to make our point. We use Twitter to showcase our headline and direct our readers to our story. Then, we use blogs to for just about everything nowadays.
Food – this is what I see blogs used more and more frequently for. It seems that everyone wants to make a Food blog and either talk about recipes or their favorite places to eat. Even if these bloggers are not talking about Hollywood gossip, they too become celebrities just because they are talking about food. They become respected in the area for which they blog about restaurants and are welcomed in hoping that the restaurant receives a good review; or if they are budding chefs and post some great recipes, they too can become celebrities in the food world. Just look at the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. She started out with a website before she moved onto the Food Network with her own show that has gone on for years.
Perez Hilton surely passed his 15 minutes of fame long ago, however because of the topic he blogs about, he remain relevant to his following, and to those celebrities who use him to get attention. One such example I remember was watching the regular news and they did a story on Actress Tori Spelling. She was having a signing for her DVD about her reality show. It was obvious that nobody showed up, however there was Perez Hilton in every shot, and he and Tori pretending to have a large crowd around them. As I stated before, this is how he was used but still remains relevant and in business.
What the future of journalism holds depends on those who still want to be journalists. Mass Communication students, researchers and more should take careful note. Although the delivery method is evolving, I believe that the grass roots idea of being a journalist will always remain the same. As the video The Future of Journalism states, we are in a digital age. Whether the delivery is local news, nationwide news, or even as small as a one city area news, what we rely on such as newspapers and television is evolving into something new, different, and in many ways, exciting. It presents opportunities out there for those who want to become journalists and had very few outlets to practice their specialty in. With the evolution of news delivery, more jobs in journalism can now open presenting new ways to present the news in an ethical manner, but also a fun one.
However, one can debate today “what is best in the industry of journalism – to be first or to be correct?” Joe Paterno, one of the greatest college football coaches ever, was hanging on to life. CBS issued a report confirming his death, but they were wrong. Paterno’s children confirmed that he was still holding on. CBS got it wrong. Shortly after, they issued an apology regarding their mistake but they still won.
In the industry of journalism, its readers that make you powerful. The larger your audience, the larger your revenue through advertising because you can guarantee that an ad will be viewed more with you than anywhere else.
In the Fox Sports report, they wrapped up the report so honestly when they stated that although CBS got it wrong, they were still being rewarded with page views. What that means is that even with the mistake, a grave mistake at that, they were still receiving the benefits of their audience, and more of an audience because they made the error. No matter what kind of apology one can grant for such a horrible mistake, CBS gained more readers simply because they chose to be first rather than correct.
Consumers are honestly a funny bunch. I believe that they can be split 50/50 in the question of being first or right. Honest journalism is a practice that should be expected always. However consumers also enjoy controversy and they eat it up when someone is backed against the wall. Now with the social media revolution, consumers can also be journalists and publicly give their two cents about this or any story out there.
The agenda-setting theory can be defined as “Readers learn not only about a given issue, but also how much importance to attach to that issue from the amount of information in a news story and its position.” (http://masscommtheory.com/theory-overviews/agenda-setting-theory/)
The framing theory can be defined as “how something is presented to the audience, called “the frame,” influences the choices people make about how to process that information.” (http://masscommtheory.com/theory-overviews/framing-theory/)
Joe Paterno was a passionate subject in the media. Already with the subject of Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State Assistant Coach who allegedly sexually assaulted young men on the campus, Joe Paterno’s ties with Sandusky made him a target in the media’s eyes. Riding on the coattails of the case, Paterno’s health became a hot topic as well. CBS set out through 140 characters on twitter, and through their own website to follow the agenda-setting theory and told you that Paterno was dead. The message was a simple as that. ” @CBSSports: Joe Paterno has died at the age of 85 – http://bit.ly/JOEPATERNO” (http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/outkick-the-coverage/cbs-sport…). CBS told you everything you needed to know through their tweet, but left you wanting to know details by click on the hyperlink to their website. CBS created the path to increased readership and thus used the agenda-setting theory in their tweet, and the framing theory in their website because the details one the story gives us the information we need to process and make those choices about the story.
In the ABC News video regarding “Rathergate” we see once again how CBS was at the heart of deceptive news reporting when they chose to get the story out first rather than correct. “Rathergate” involves documents that criticize President George W. Bush’s service in the Air National Guard in 1972–1973. CBS failed to authenticate the documents and several key CBS employees lost their jobs, as well as “forcing” anchor Dan Rather out of his job. Examples such as these of failed news reporting can bring about severe consequences not only on the individual or company in the story, but also to those who fail to report accurately.
How this brings a major shift to digital news reporting is that it creates more outlets to actually share the news with the masses. I believe and hope that this also brought about more responsibility in the way we present the news and that there is more comprehension about the fact that reporting the story first is not always in the best interest but rather in how accurate the story we present is far more worth its weight in gold.