Journalism as we know it is changing, and with all the new technologies we have at our disposal, it is people who are making journalism make that change.
Journalists typically hunt out information, collect it into a big pot of stuff, do the clever bit and work out what’s useful, true or otherwise and distill all of that into a story which is then read by you and me.
Where that information is coming from however is beginning to shift away from ‘the word on the street’, to ‘the word in the tweet’.
As proved by events in Iran, Twitter has proved an invaluble outlet for Iranians on the ground in the thick of the action to report first hand what is happening.
This is a unique situation where a media blackout has been thwarted and I don’t think we’ll see this sort of Twitter-centric coverage of a live event occur too often.
What this has proved conclusively to those in the Twittersphere, and increasingly some outside of it, is the power of the platform, as open and free as it is.
This means that reporters do not need to be in the place where news is occurring to be able to report the facts to their readers. I was taught at journalism school that you need to be able to feel what is going on, see people to gauge their reactions and hear what is being said to report accurately – I don’t think stands at the present time, and is going to diminish even further in the coming years.
Journalists can take what is being said on platforms like Twitter or Facebook, as they would take voxpops for example, and work out what pieces of information are going to make the story. This means that you will be reading stories shaped, not created, by journalists in the future, crowd sourced if you will, to your screen or newspaper (if they are around long enough to see the change happen).
Am I wrong? Is this already ahppening more than we’ve plainly seen? I’d love to know what a journalist’s point of view is on this. Let me know.