In Liz Heron’s “How to Win the Internet”, she discusses how journalism has been fundamentally changed by the Internet. This is demonstrated in a variety of ways; the news is faster and it has been democratized. Heron stressed that when you say that the news is faster on social media, you should be referring to timing, not speed. When she talked about democratization, Heron discussed the participatory nature of Internet news. Everyone has a mobile device in their pocket (“mobile-social world”), the power of journalists as the gate-keepers of information is no longer the case, now the media’s role is to confirm stories that are already existing on social media and, to be successful, sustain the conversation. Due to this, journalist have to be really transparent and share all transcripts (or other documentation) in case a source claims the information was false.
To borrow from Heron, journalists can use social media to answer questions about stories. I think this is a really interesting and helpful way to break down that barrier of journalist (gatekeeper) and citizen to create an open forum and clarify misconceptions. I think Heron’s example of the instagram video was another great way journalists can use social media. By providing a brief and compelling video, journalists can promote their content. Furthermore (on the idea of promotion), if a journalist is on the scene, they can break news in an informal way and provide brief updates. As we discussed in class, journalists can use social media for story ideas as well. The “breaking news on twitter” hyperlink below demonstrates public figures and citizens alike breaking news on twitter before major news networks even knew what was happening! This is very fascinating and seconds Heron’s discussion of the participatory nature of internet journalism on the internet.
As far as ethical issues go for the use of newsgathering on social media, you don’t know what is credible without researching the source and the information. This was demonstrated by the news video we watched in class with the photoshopped shark. The first lesson should be that you can’t trust anything you see/read on the internet (media literacy). Next, as we discussed in class, you can’t just take photographs from people’s accounts and publish them because of possible copyright issues.