Reporting in the 21st century

If you had told a full-time journalist ten years ago that they’d soon be reporting the news using “social media” or “apps”, I’m sure most of them would have thought you were crazy and ignored it.

Growing up as a “digital native”, I’ve only known the world with Internet. I don’t know how to read a map to get from point A to point B, I’ve never written a friend a letter (besides thank-you notes to my grandparents), and I’ve only ever used physical encyclopedias in lower grade school. I don’t even remember my parents having dial-up for that matter.

So when Tory Starr came to class saying her job title was “Director of Social Media” at WGBH, I never gave it a second thought. To me, it seems like a cool, cutting-edge job to have given the way journalism is going.

Every form of social media is involved in the news cycle in one way or another. And although you may not get all of the people, all of time, you can get SOME of the people, SOME of the time (which may just be enough).

“Within each of these platforms, the ecosystem is so big. You’re not going to reach every, or most people maybe, but there are opportunities,” Tory said.

The more I think about this, the more it makes sense to me. Facebook has over a billion active daily users. You reach only .5% of these, and that is still over 5 million people. Who can then send it to another .5%, who can show it to another .5%, and so on. The room for growth seems almost infinite. When she called Facebook king, she was extremely accurate.

However, not every platform can rival Facebook. Twitter and Snapchat are still finding their way in the digital media age, and that’s not always a bad thing. It means there’s still room for growth and changes. Storytelling isn’t going anywhere, there’s just new tools.

People in my generation joke about finding a job in the journalism field, given the current state of newspapers. After today’s class, and seeing how positions like Tory’s have evolved, I think it’s clear that there are still journalism jobs available; they’re just in new and exciting places.



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