The rise of convergence, the blogosphere, citizen journalism and social media are having a massive effect on news reporting in a changing industry. According to Kendyl Salcito the benefit of online reporting is that information can reach “millions of people almost instantaneously”.
Being the first to report on a story has trumped the need for accurate and well-researched journalism. This need for immediacy rather than accuracy is having a seriously detrimental effect on the future of journalism. After years of this trend it appears that perhaps the desire of quality rather than quantity may finally be on the rise.
Being a journalist today requires a 24 hour online presence to stay ahead of the constant stream of untrained bloggers and citizen journalists who have the advantage of being on the scene of a story as it happens. With this urgency comes a tirade of mistakes from grammar, spelling and typos to more serious accuracy issues. Facts are being neglected or even falsely reported on.
Ed Heil’s interview with Jerry Zgoda reveals how the “immediacy of social media certainly has changed the news cycle into a 24/7 thing and it certainly has changed my life for the worse in terms of work load and stress”. He goes on to describe how there is no such thing as an individual journalist having a scoop anymore “It lasts 5-seconds and then the whole world owns it and nobody but a few media nerds remembers who had it first”.
News organisations like BuzzFeed are starting to recognise the need for their audience to trust them as a reliable news organisation rather than the first to report on a story, and are improving their methods of reporting with the hiring of fact checkers among other strategies.