How Social Media Has Impacted Journalism

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This presentation covers the impact of the internet and social media on journalism, from newsgathering to distribution to consumption. Presented to Tufts University class on "Social Media: Participatory Culture and Content Creation in Society."

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How Social Media Has Impacted Journalism

  1. 1. SOCIAL MEDIA AND JOURNALISM I stole ‘curated’ this image Ben Rubenstein
  2. 2. OVERVIEW • The role of journalism – why is it so important? • How social media has changed the game • Newsgathering • Distribution • Consumption • Threats and opportunities
  3. 3. WHAT IS JOURNALISM, ANYWAY? • Traditional ethics of journalism: • Accuracy • Proportionality/Fairness • Transparency • Independence “Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.” – Clay Shirky
  4. 4. WHAT DO JOURNALISTS (AND INSTITUTIONS) REALLY PROVIDE? • Credibility/Authority • Access • Tough questions (speak truth to power) • Money (for investigations) “In journalism, real authority starts with reporting. … ‘I’m there, you’re not, let me tell you about it.’ ” - Jay Rosen
  5. 5. HOW DID WE GET HERE?  Advertising revenue decline (Craigslist)  Free access to news via online sources  Democratization of publishing  Business responses:  Paywalls – hard, metered, social, Bitcoin  NYTimes, Chicago Sun-Times, WSJ, Financial Times  “Evergreen” content  Archives, images  Custom publishing  Pro Publica  Rebundling  NYTimes + Spotify, print + online bundles, aggregation  Subscriptions  Andrew Sullivan
  6. 6. DEMOCRATIZATION OF NEWSGATHERING  Social media offers a direct channel to the public  Twitter conversations  Anonymous tips  Increased transparency – ask questions while producing a story
  7. 7. NEWSGATHERING RESOURCES HAVE EXPANDED • More exposure for trends • What the public is interested in • What people are sharing and talking about
  8. 8. HOW DO THE SOCIAL COMPANIES SPIN THE STORY?
  9. 9. BREAKING: JOURNALISTS NO LONGER CONTROL THE PLATFORM  Social distribution is key for getting eyeballs
  10. 10. THE END OF BIG • Traditional news organizations are being scooped by: • Blogs and citizen journalists (“Sources go direct”) • Amateur bystanders – stories flow up instead of down • Their own staff
  11. 11. NEW-ISH ROLE: SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR • Provide tools to help journalists do their jobs better • Optimize content and distribution for new channels • Curate content
  12. 12. SPEED AND STYLE TRUMP EVERYTHING ELSE • Tweet first, confirm later • The goal is to stand out, get noticed: • Sharable, Upworthy-style headlines • Striking images • Correct timing of posts
  13. 13. ORIGINALITY IS SECONDARY • Existing content can be ‘curated’ and redistributed • Aggregation or stealing? • Social stories often get their start from traditional media
  14. 14. CONTROLLING CURATION
  15. 15. THE RISE OF THE PROSUMER  The audience can now comment immediately and insert themselves into the story
  16. 16. THE RISE OF THE PROSUMER  The audience can now comment immediately and insert themselves into the story Is this a good thing?
  17. 17. ALL NEWS IS SOCIAL NOW – SOME OLD, SOME NEW
  18. 18. NICHE COMMUNITIES • Mainstream doesn’t cover it? No problem!
  19. 19. THE FILTER BUBBLE Was it ever really different?
  20. 20. RESPONSIBILITY OF JOURNALISTS IN SOCIAL MEDIA • Confirm before tweeting? • Not falling for hoaxes • Give credit where credit is due • Thoroughness “Digital first resets the journalistic relationship with the community, making the news organization less a producer and more an open platform for the public to share what it knows. It is to that process that the journalist adds value.” – Jeff Jarvis
  21. 21. SOCIAL JOURNALISM BENEFITS • Info can be disseminated much more quickly • More promotion and exposure for quality content • More diversity of opinions • Improved research and tips • Improved transparency • Opportunity to build strong personal brands
  22. 22. SOCIAL JOURNALISM DRAWBACKS • “Not enough and too much information” • False information spreads quickly • Exposure breeds cheap content/content farms • Too much faith in the public
  23. 23. NEWS DISTRIBUTION: 1963 • How were people getting the information? • What was the timeline of information getting out? • What were the reactions among the public? How do you know?
  24. 24. NEWS DISTRIBUTION: 2013  How were people getting the information? How many sources?  What was the timeline of the information getting out?  What was the reaction? How do you know?
  25. 25. BOSTON MARATHON BOMBINGS: CONSPIRACY COMES QUICKLY
  26. 26. BOSTON MARATHON BOMBINGS: CITIZEN JOURNALISM IN ACTION
  27. 27. TAKEAWAYS  Just as important for news orgs to be reporting via social media as on their own platforms  Citizens are now a vital part of the news process  Multiple videos/sources instead of just one  Much more info, but no filter
  28. 28. THANK YOU • http://www.benrubenstein.net • linkedin.com/benrubenstein • @ben_rubenstein

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