Journalism 2.0- An undeniable reality and an opportunity for change

By Laura Smith

November 19, 2008

 

  In the introduction of his book Journalism 2.0 How to Survive and Thrive, Mark Briggs, Assistant Managing Editor for Interactive News at The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington writes, “Can you send an attachment with an email? Then you have what it takes to publish a blog with pictures.” What Briggs is saying is that with the installation of today’s new form of journalism, also known as Journalism 2.0 or Web 2.0, anyone can become a journalist.

            Journalism 2.0 is a growing trend in the media industry. Essentially, consumers are moving away from reading the standard folded black and white newspaper every morning but are instead logging onto their computers to get their news. But it is not the online news that is drawing them there. It is the technology that is being combined with the news stories. Instead of just reading about a crime that happened the night before, now readers can watch a video online of its coverage or they can go to a blog and post their reactions about it.

            This concept of a blog brings up another component of Web 2.0, the idea that anyone can become a journalist, as previously mentioned. Blog websites such as WordPress, Blogger or TypePad or allow anyone in the world to express their thoughts or write a story. And it is easy too. Not only can people write whatever they feel, they can add pictures, video, charts, maps and more, making their blog more entertaining and comprehensive.

            Blogs are not the only way ordinary citizens can become journalists however. Take the popular site, YouTube for instance. YouTube is a video blogging site that allows anyone to post videos of whatever they desire. Of course, there are those who post just for fun of something mundane like their puppy chasing a ball. But there are also those who use this outlet to post important information such as documentaries they create or public service announcements. Instead of just telling others about something, they can visually create it with the help of YouTube.

            Social websites are also helping Journalism 2.0 take off. While some of these sites may now directly serve to provide news or important information, they allow people to stay in touch with each other, opening new lines of communication. Sites such as Facebook and Myspace allow people to create their own pages and profiles, again being able to post pictures, blogs, and threads to express an idea. Sites such as Flickr or Photobucket also allow ordinary people to post pictures on the web so others can see what they are up to. All of these increase open forms of communication among people and professionals.

            But all this new technology does not just pertain to ordinary citizens however. Mobile journalists, otherwise known as “mojos” are using their skills to tell stories in new ways. Instead of just writing a story, the journalist is now taking a camera with them in the field, filming the scene, filming the emotion and transferring it back to the audience. With features such as Twitter, they can be in constant communication with others and give up to the minute updates on what is going on. Because of this, audiences are receiving news on a quicker basis, are becoming more informed, and journalists are writing more stories each day than they ever have before.

            According to Briggs, “journalists are generally suspicious of new reporting methods.” He says that journalism “is actually one of the slowest professions to embrace change.” Because of this, he points out that there are traditional journalists who reject the idea of the new journalism 2.0.

            Why then should we embrace this new idea of journalism? For one thing, it brings people faster information with a better idea of what exactly happened in a situation with the help of visuals. It also allows people to stay in touch with one another on a social level. According to Briggs, crowdsourcing is another reason. Crowdsourcing is the idea of communities coming together to provide more value to a website or other online medium. It focuses on the power of a community on a specific project through the community’s ability to get involved. Briggs gives the example of the open (anyone can contribute) encyclopedia Wikipedia versus the closed (professionals only) online encyclopedia, Britannica. Because of the involvement of the committed community to Wikipedia, Britannica has not been able to keep up.

 

            Whether you accept it or not, you cannot deny that the world is changing. Its media is becoming more comprehensive and its citizens are becoming more involved. Maybe Briggs says it best when he writes, “ Change is inevitable. Progress is optional. The future is now.”

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