At one point in time, only those held in the highest regard and with the best resources could report the news and the way that people felt about it. Getting an article in print once meant having a degree and a job with a magazine and publishing something that somebody else saw as having potential.
Today, however, social media has allowed for the sharing of news and opinions like never before. Traditional civic journalism has not died- there are still people who look to news magazines and newspapers for their current events. There are many, however, who are turning to places like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube for all the latest information. This is not limited to just news either. There are people who follow social media influencers for advice from on where to shop, what to do in their love lives, how to work out, and so much more.
[Read also: Welcome to The Revolution of Social Media]
While traditional civic journalism is not dead, these social influencer trends are leading to a new way to share news and opinion. Read on to learn more about the relationship between social media and civic journalism, as well as what this may mean for delivery of news and information in the future.
You Don’t Need Approval to Be Published
Literally anyone can get published on social media. You can create your own website, publish your own articles, and share information to anyone who follows you. In turn, they can share it with their friends and explain their own opinions and so on and so forth.
While the fact that you do not need approval for publication may seem as if it allows anyone to print the “news,” social media does provide checks and balances. People can comment on things further and call you out if you do not report the truth. Furthermore, there are even sites dedicated to “de-bunking” articles that are printed and offering evidence as to whether they are true or not.
The great thing about not needing approval is that you do not have to be famous or well-established to share your ideas. Anyone with an opinion is able to be a social media influencer by sharing their ideas online.
Cameras are Everywhere
Traditional news stories often rely on a photographer, a journalist, and an editor at minimum to get their stories to the press. In today’s age of technology, however, cell phones allow almost anyone to take pictures and record video footage. This offers evidence and shows proof of the news that you are sharing. Additionally, it works to capture the attention of the general public. What would you trust more- a still picture that could have been captured at the exact right moment or a video that shows exactly what happened?
People Can Comment Right on the News Source
Social media is all about sharing. It is the sharing of information, new ideas, unique perspectives and opinions, and so much more. When it comes to sites like Facebook and Twitter, you can even comment (or Tweet) directly to the writer of the article. This allows you to ask questions and share your own opinion on the subject.
The sharing of opinions does not stop just at leaving your initial comment to the article either. Other people can see your comment and share their own ideas, whether they support what you have said or are against it. While this can lead to childish battles sometimes, some people look at this as a way to have a sensible debate about a topic. Whether someone is for the article or against it, however, publicity is publicity whether it is bad or good. This allows controversial news and ideas to be published and shared across all types of platforms.
The News is Instant
When it comes to civic journalism in print journalism, the deadline is always the next issue. You have to get the article in by the night before the magazine or newspaper goes to print in order for it to be published. Social media, however, is available any time of the day. For this reason, news about tragedies and big events spreads quickly- within minutes it can reach any number of people across the globe. As people share it to their friends and their friends share it to more friends, it can become global in a matter of hours or days.
Think about the last time that you heard about something major- what was the news outlet that reported it? Did you not hear about it until the nightly news or did you know shortly after it happened? If you are like a good majority of the public, the news was spread around social media very quickly. You can also tell what is going on by looking at the trending topics on social media sites, which provide a play-by-play of what everyone is talking about.
One downside of the news being instant is that it allows for less time for fact-checking and mistakes are sometimes reported. Fortunately, these stories can also be instantly updated with corrections the very minute that the civic journalist knows more.
Social Media and Civic Journalism: For Better or For Worse?
There is no doubt that social media has impacted civic journalism. You no longer need a journalism degree and a job with a leading news company to have your voice heard. You can share your ideas, opinions, and even news simply by logging onto your social media site. Many have a made a fortune off of this. Social media influencers have the ability to have extreme success by launching influencer marketing campaigns and by utilizing other strategies to bring attention to their service. Influencer marketing companies, like NeoReach, have been able to assist these social media influencers with their growth and popularity.
The people against the shift of the news from more traditional print methods to those that come in the digital area will say things like “it allows anyone to print,” “mistakes are often printed,” and “it requires no credibility.” While these ideas have small validity, it is also true that checks and balances are provided in the form of reader comments and stories with slight errors can be reported in an instant. The presence of social media in civic journalism definitely has the potential to be a good thing. It definitely shifts the public eye away from the stories that media prints and allows more opinions and news stories to be shared.
[Image via: Google Images]