The Future of Social Media in Journalism and PR

Social media is constantly evolving with journalism and public relations. Social media has successfully weaved itself into both professions as a useful tool and a “necessary evil.” As a journalist, social media is an important tool of the trade and with print news standing on its last leg, publicizing news through social media is the fastest, most effective way to reach large audiences.

In an article by Clay Shirky for Medium.com, he states journalists who work for a print publication need to act now because their job is in danger, which is true more than ever. Everything that was once print is now digital, readers prefer digital to print news, and journalists need to utilize this information and build on it. Audiences are changing the way they choose their consumption of content and how they obtain it.

In an article from The Economist, Twitter proved to be the quickest and most effective way to spread news, for instance, a tweet about Osama bin Laden was published before the television news channels reported the story. Social media has provided a platform for journalists and PR in this internet-driven world, but not all journalists are in favor of social media. Some believe it actually undermines traditional journalistic values.

According to an article by Maria Materise from Cision, journalists must accept social media as a useful tool, even if they themselves do not embrace it. Social media allows journalists to connect with their audience and gather additional information.

Before social media, however, public relations provided advertising in other ways. In an article by Robert Wynne from Forbes, the traditional public relations path of advertising relied on the power of the New York Times, CNN, and Wired to write and broadcast advertisements. In Shirky’s article, advertisements appeared in newspapers as print ads or by inserts in the Sunday paper.

As social media continues to evolve, the need for printed insert advertisements will be less in demand, shifting businesses for a more profitable alternative. Social media provides businesses with a digital alternative. As we grow closer and closer to the digitized world of journalism and PR, print news and newsroom employees will become dinosaurs of the past.

The future of social media holds great promises to the world of journalism and PR, if utilized the right way. As Shirky stated in his article, the death of newspapers may be sad, but the threatened loss of journalistic talent is what is most saddening.

Newspapers and online publications may be quick to post news stories to their social media, but the ethical codes of journalism are increasingly being ignored in their reporting. This poses a problem for those who consume their news primarily from social media thus, the rise of “fake news.” Social media may be vital in the journalism and PR toolkit, but the rise in unethical reporting is a challenging aspect of the trade.

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