While the basic principles of journalism remains the same, the way it reaches our audience and the tools required to do the job, such as accuracy and fairness in reporting, will constantly change. Gone are the days of sitting in front of the television watching locally produced newscast, where the anchor and producers feed us the daily news. News can and does travel fast and wide, but is it because of the time and effort put in, or are iPhones and social media junkies taking over the job? Stephanie Scurlock, WREG Memphis Anchor/ Reporter, tells what she feels about the longevity of the business.
“The industry is a lot faster. The days of waiting to get information on the 5pm and 10pm news are over. It’s simply non-existent because of how the industry has changed. News agencies must adapt to social media and the internet to have the news of the day at the fingertips of the public.”
In the recent nationwide case of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, footage went around the world in seconds because of phone video showing a police officer standing over a dead Brown. Some wonder if it would have got any coverage at all if the witness would have never shot footage of the killing. Could it have been a different headline if the witness never filmed it? One man does think that journalism is not needed anymore and that it’s a dying way for news to get out.
“ I’ve always read the newspaper, even when I was a teenager, but there were no cell phones and no God-forsaken Facebook, it was words on paper,” said Paul Jake, 64, from Germantown, TN, former mail associate at the New York Times. “I always thought that journalist were low paid and not much of a career because we know what we see on TV. They are just repeating what I saw in the paper the day before. I also think that everything is opinionated now, when my grandkids show me some stuff on You-Tube and videos that they think are hilarious about people stating their own opinions on worldwide issues, they are funny, but a joke.”
Everything evolves over time so there is no denying the evolution, but who has it effected the most? Anchors and technology support in news areas had to learn new technologies and systems to keep up with today’s speedy nature. Robbin Walker WREG Memphis Editor—18 years employed, explains how her job has evolved over time.
“I started off as an intern in the mid-90s and when I graduated they wanted me to work full time as a junior editor. When the job first began we used VHS tapes, from what the camera men shot the previous day. I had to go through so many tapes and edit each one and compile them all together, a very strenuous process,” said Walker. As the times changed we started using different software systems that I had to study, to keep with how fast things were changing.”
With the rise of social media, written publications have been put in jeopardy. The Newspapers are shutting down and getting sold off because of the fast pace stories from internet and media. Local Memphis, Tennessee newspaper the Teen Appeal has been said to shut down Dec. 31st due to lack of funders.
“It would be a shame to let this project die and I’m just surprised that I haven’t been able to attract another funder with the vision we have for this project that is unique in this country,” said Dr. Arant, Head Chair of University of Memphis Journalism Department.
Social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram have been used from Newsrooms to put updates every hour, to keep their readers updated. The death-watch is coming for more than just humans.
The emergence of social media has changed journalism. The use of the internet has enabled almost anyone to be journalist. They can build an audience, tell a story, and inform the public with the click of a button.
“The business is getting busier. It’s a 24-hour day world, and if you don’t adapt to what your viewers want, you’re dead,” said Austin Onek, WREG Memphis News weather anchor. “If you don’t monitor and find out more about what’s going on in the way that people want their news, they’re going to get it someplace else. If we don’t keep adapting to the business we are going to be in the same place as newspapers are right now.”
Technology, as always has changed an entire industry and created a new role and different avenues for people to give and receive news. Anyone can publish or share information with the world. Yes, journalists still tell stories, and they still exist to inform, but they do more than that. The business of journalism is moving away from lecture to conversation.
“People don’t sit down at 5 o’ clock anymore and watch the news like they use too,” said Elise Preston, WREG news anchor. “Everyone goes online. Papers have an online presence, so people have read the news of the day, most of the time, before they watch it on TV. I like newspapers still and actual print journalism because you get a different visual. I guess Technology in general is the biggest thing I’ve seen change. There is more push for web and digital we’re using Twitter more. When I started those outlets were already out, but didn’t have as big of a presence.”
Journalists of today use social media and even made names for themselves using it. The elements of good journalism and how the information is presented will always change. With that being said, journalism is journalism. Good journalists, whether on podcast, or through the television will still be needed to report the information and present to an audience.