You, the World, and Digital Media
Last weekend, I attended a journalism conference that was primarily for those interested in broadcast media– it was hosted by one of the weekend anchors at Baltimore’s FOX affiliate.
One of the most common themes surrounding the conference, besides making connections and branding yourself, was that of digital media and discussing how we should use it and become familiar with it.
It’s very rare that we see newspapers that are solely in paper form—most newspapers have a 24/7 complementary website where we can get news within a few quick clicks. But there’s been even more added on to THAT component. More and more, we are seeing publications formatted for an online version.
Apps for mobile devices give us the ability to read the full edition right on our phones anytime, anywhere. And newsfeeds like Twitter have made it so that we don’t have to go to the actual website of the publication. We can bring stories from all sorts of publications right on to one screen.
One of my favorite features of news sites and blogs are RSS feeds, which allow us to have news articles and updates sent directly to us at any time…we don’t even need to go the site. (In fact, you can subscribe to my RSS feeds and get updates when I post something new!)
But WAIT! There’s more!
While I was my conference last weekend, web producer launched www.vox.com creating a whole new, fresh dimension to news in digital publication. Not only does Vox give you the news, but the site actually explains the news to you. With so many things happening around the world on a daily basis, it’s hard to remember exactly why things are happening. Vox fixes that so that we understand the news, rather than just hearing it.
So what does this mean for reporters-in-training?
Well, if we have this idea that we’re going to out and get jobs in the field of journalism, we need to understand that, eventually, the web will be the primary source of information. That means that even broadcast reporters will need to have strong, compelling writing abilities because they will be writing for the web.
I know a few students who come to class annoyed because they’re sitting in a journalism course which focuses on writing, when what they really want to do is stand in front of a camera and give a report. Now if you’re sitting there and you’re thinking, “yea, that sounds like me,” I’ve got news (pun intended) for you: you WILL need those writing skills.
Wait, let me rephrase that…you will be EXPECTED to have those writing skills.
So remember, with this expansion of digital media, our jobs, especially when they come to news-related jobs, will demand more from us. While digital media creates easier access to news, it also means we need to be prepared.