Every morning, I scroll through my twitter account on my phone, while on my way to school, to see what news are happening around the world. I follow certain news sites such as The Straits Times, BBC and other news source on twitter and that was how I usually get my daily dosage of news information. When I see a headline that interest me, I would click on it and the story would open in a new window.
These days, I barely touch a newspaper at all. I do not really have to, considering all the news can be found online and sometimes the most interesting reads are not found on news websites but rather on websites that host citizen journalism.
The Internet is changing the whole game play for journalists around the world. Now, journalists do not just write for traditional print but they also write for online version of the print as well. and based on my own personal observations, articles found online and in print are slightly different as they are catered to different audience. Those found online are more condense as compared to those found in print. This might be done to hold the attention of the audience for as long as possible so they finish the full article. Those found online also has additional information attached to it in the form of hyperlinks that readers can click to find more information. Although this is an interactive feature and can gain brownie points with certain group of readers, this i, in my opinion, rather distracting and sometimes can get the reader to go off topic because he or she would end up clicking links after links. Going further away from the main article.
So what does this all means to journalists? Well, it means that, for starters, journalists cannot report the same way that they do anymore. They have to adapt to the changing needs of the readers and also recognise that if they were to write the same way that they do in the newspapers or magazine articles, they would just scare off readers and thats a big no no. Also, journalists have to learn several other skills besides writing articles to maintain readers' attention. For example, some journalists has learnt to produce videos for their articles and this adds some level of dynamic to their story. This can really help them and their organisation boost readership.
Lately, besides online articles and stories that are written by professional journalists, there is something called citizen journalism. This is where normal individuals write about topics that they favours and are interested in. These people might not be professional or have certain level of expertise in their written topic but they are writing because it interest them . Sometimes, it does not have to be articles or stories that are being written. It can be video reports produced by individuals on topics that they are concerned or interested in. CNN iReport is one example of citizen journalism. This is a sub-branch of CNN where they encourage individuals to report on certain topics and submit their videos to CNN. If selected, their videos would be shown on CNN. They have an assignment desk where there are topics that people can report about. They even have a RSS feed to update people of the latest assignments.
Of course the downside to citizen journalism is that, some argue, the citizens are not paid for their reports. And that these news media is using these reporters as a cheap form of labour. Another argument is that these reporters are not experts and they can report the wrong information to the public. Thus sometimes, we have to be careful when watching or reading reports written by these journalist.