Changing Definitions – How Journalism has evolved throughout the 21st Century

New Media have affected the world of journalism in so many ways, creating an online world where audiences are now users and producers of content. While this is changing, the definition itself of journalism is evolving as well.

The conceptions surrounding journalism have gone from an audience ingesting information, to users creating the information content themselves, across a variety of media platforms.

While this may produce a more democratic environment for users by giving every one a voice, does this harm the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) idea of what a journalist should represent?

On one hand, there is no moderation of ethics, fact checking, or even professionalism on most blogs or sites that are self-proclaimed journalistic feeds. On the other hand, giving everybody a voice and opportunity to work with journalistic information could create an environment that thrives with information diversity and truth.

With the constantly-changing definition of journalism that is seen in today’s media-centered world, this could be perfectly fine if we learn how to consume our media differently.

That, there, is the key.

We have fallen into the pattern that is shown as our ultimate destruction in post-apocalyptic movies such as Idiocracy or Wall-E. Consuming media blindly, without any discretion, for shock-value Wall-E-2-fat-humansor simply because it is easy to believe what the TV or Internet is saying, is not consuming media correctly.

With bloggers emerging every day calling themselves journalists (myself included), we need to understand that truth is relative. Though some news sources are far more trustworthy than others (the New York Times, etc.), it is important to take news with a grain of salt. The more people educated outside of the field of communications or law try their hand at participating in news culture, the less accurate news stories have the danger of becoming. By comparing and contrasting sources, and doing a bit of personal fact-checking, we can create an Internet environment where journalism has changed, but is still reliable to some degree.

If your interest in this topic is sparked, you’ll be glad to hear that I’m not the only person thinking about this. Below are some links to articles that have rounded the way I think about these issues, and that go a bit more in-depth with the relationship between technology and journalism:

Journalism in the Digital Age
A project much like this one done by students at Stanford University.

Changing Definitions of News
Pew Research Center for Journalism and Media.

Ten Ways Journalism Has Changed in the Last 10 Years (Blogger’s-Cut)

The Meaning of Journalism in the 21st Century.
An article in EuroNews, an online news source.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s