Last week my class had a guest speaker from CBS Radio. He started his presentation by asking us, “How do you get your news information?” The majority of my class including me told him that we get our news through our phones especially through Twitter.
According to The Social Media Bible, a recent poll showed that:
37% of Americans regularly go online for their news
27% picked up a newspaper on any given day.
39% turn to cable television.
Those who watched a nightly news bulletin on TV fell from 34 %to 29% over the past four years.
Some of you might laugh at the thought of getting your news through your phone, but if you are following thought leaders and major creditable news sources like CNN, Washington Post, Breaking News. Even email services like Yahoo! And AOL has news updates when you log into your account. It is important for us to realize how much our world is changing especially in the way we receive news.
Social media is growing and contributing to the way we receive news. Yesterday, I was in class when the WNBA draft was on and I looked to my Twitter to keep me updated because my childhood friend who plays for JMU was up for the draft. My phone is how I get news during the day.
Ironically, social media is, also, becoming the news breaker because now our creditable news sources are relying on the “average Joe” or citizen journalist to break news. For example, our eyes were glued on Twitter as employees of the Discovery Channel in Silver Springs, MD and nearby spectators broke the news of their hostage situation in the building.
Another example is when Ronald Isley tweeted the news that Teena Marie had passed away.
And just recently we heard the voices of Egypt rise through technology and they fed the world with social media updates of their protest.
Director of BBC’s of Global News, Peter Horrocks, told his staff in 2010 to embrace Twitter and used it to find stories. Many reporters are doing this because even I have major news sources following me on Twitter.
This can be a good or bad thing, because news sources are aggressively trying to find news and be the first to break it but sometimes fact checking is ignored and the wrong information is reported. Ethics come into play because we expect journalists to report unbiased and fact driven news. Not every citizen journalists’ tweets are reliable, and according to The New Media Relations, reporters and editors say:
o 84% of social media sources were “slightly less” or “much less” reliable than traditional media
o 49% of social media suffers from “lack of fact checking, verification and reporting standards
It is clear that the way we receive our news is shifting. Communication students and professionals have to be award of this change in order to find new and unique ways to disseminate information.