Social Media in Journalism and hows it's shaping its professional identity

Journalism is an important profession prevalent in society and the majority of the world. The rise of social media however has had a significant influence of shaping the profession to what it is today. The availability of online social media platforms and networks have influenced the way journalists are able to operate. Social media is a valuable tool for everyone, especially journalists as it aids them with news gathering, audience engagement and can act as another efficient platform for content.

Shift from traditional to modern journalism

Traditionally, journalists were in charge of asking questions, reporting on events and warning the public of certain incidents. These means took form as newspaper articles, radio and television advertisements. This tradition form of media was effective and will internally be an active part in the journalism profession. Reporter were often given a task to investigate first hand for a story. Now however, the rise in technology and in return, social media has put an edge on the way journalists practice their profession. Today journalists receive stories through different media platforms. Platforms in which journalists take to social media include the more frequent use of person photography and recordings as well as other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. These media outlets have overall shaped the profession of journalism in a way that will be different forever.

Social Media in Collecting News

' Authenticity has replace Authority '

Since Web 2.0 came about, the blurring of distinctions has taken place and evidently influenced the production of news in the journalism profession. Traditionally journalist would produce and present news articles, them being the only source for worldly information. However, since the blurring of production and consumption (Dr Cassidy, 2017) has taken place, people are no longer waiting for the news to come to them. The development of social media has helped the newsgathering and crowdsourcing element of journalism. It has shaped the profession in the way that they have access to wide range of voices, stories and opinions (Social Songbird, 2013). This shift has ultimately helped to authenticate the news by making it more personal to the consumers as they are part of the process. Studies show that 72% of adults get their news from sources such as family and friends, including through social media (Materise, 2015). This clearly shows how necessary social media is in this internet driven world, particularly in sourcing information for the journalism career.

According to cision, journalists are increasingly engaging in social media platforms for accessing information. To be exact, studies show 67% of journalists they use social media more than 2 hours a day, while having most believe it has improved their productivity in their profession (Materise, 2015). The Boston marathon bombings is a devastating example of how social media changed news coverage. After the bombs detonated, journalists and news channels began to investigate (Ziv, 2015). However, unlike many other previous tragedies and event, the public didn’t have to wait to hear about the event. Amateurs began posting and reporting about the event on their various personal social media platforms, making the news spread tremendously. This description relates to the notion of blurring of the distinctions, having amateurs become professionals (Dr Cassidy, 2017).

Everyone has heard of Twitter before. Whether you have an account, follow people or merely just know about it. But what some people may not know about it is that it has become one of the most used social media platform for accessing news. As Mark Little, chief executive of Storyful states; “Now people can bypass us using a camera phone and a social network, and the means of production have been completely overturned” (Dredge, 2014). A scholarly article from Oxford states there is such thing as the ‘Twitter Effect’. This is defined as the rapid spread of news and information through blogging and ‘tweeting’ (Alejandro, 2010). These tweets spread quickly throughout the medium. The blurring between consumption and production has encouraged journalism professionals to take to social media when collecting and delivering news. Consumers are more and more hungry be a part of the production and storytelling of events, or at least just to participate in conversation about topics.

Audience Involvement

Recently, a growing number of people are going online for their news. The traditional means of news coverage are still apparent, however more and more people are taking to social media, as it allows for a two-way engagement between both parties. The development of social media has encouraged producers to engage with the consumer and vice versa. As Web 2.0 tools have developed further, audiences are expecting to be actively involved throughout journalism journey (Miller, 2008). Recently, professions such as journalism are beginning to form alliances with the audience. Characteristics of new media enable labour include interactivity, 24/hr connectivity and participatory. Consumers of media have become more recently objective to non-waged labour. Because of this prevalent shift crowdsourcing has become very apparent in journalism.

The audience has recently become an active participant in the media. As the consumers begin to interact with the professionals and other users in a casual manner, this almost lessens the work for professions such as journalists, making them merely the managers of non-paid social workers. In relation to the interaction between the consumer and the producers, media has also become an instantaneously shared form of communication. News that was once local now becomes worldly at the click of a button becoming international news within seconds.

Social media is a way to distribute content.

Speed of Publication

Content can be distributed anywhere at any time. However, with the rise of social media comes the rise of expectations. Articles and reports are instantly updated and broadcasted because of the increased use of social media. Rather than people coming to the news, the news comes to the reader. Sometimes as quick as a text message alert warning citizens of recent events. Weather warnings are a prime example of how social media has managed to influence the way news is reported to the community. Now even before one is aware of events, an alert is automatically sent out to everyone suspect to danger at the current time.


Alejandro, J. (2010). Reuters Institute Fellowship Paper. Retrieved from Journalism in the age of social media :

Dr Cassidy E. (2017). KCB206 Social media, self and society: Module 5 [lecture notes].Retrieved from

Dredge, S. (2014, November 6). The Guardian. Retrieved from Social media, journalism and wars: ‘Authenticity has replaced authority':

Materise, M. (2015, August 7). Cision . Retrieved from Is Social Media Changing the Role of Journalists?:

Miller, R. (2008, July 8). EContent . Retrieved from The New Journalism: It's Audience Participation Time:

Social Songbird. (2013, May 2). Social Songbird. Retrieved from Social Media's Impact on Journalism:

Ziv, S. (2015, April 15). News Week . Retrieved from How social media changed news coverage after the Boston marathon attack :


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