Has social media changed journalism?

When the internet first became popular, we saw the advent of ‘citizen journalism’ – reports and photos filed by ordinary people, rather than professional journalists, and posted on blogs and websites worldwide.  This has extended into the commercial sector with consumers able to post on company blogs about products, services and relevant news.

Many people now argue that social media has influenced journalism and journalists, as well as advertising and PR, in a profound way. Kevin Bakhurst, deputy head of the BBC Newsroom, recently gave a talk at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam about how social media has changed the way in which newsrooms work. During his speech, Kevin described social media as a “tectonic plate” which has irrevocably moved the landscape of journalism, and spoke of its “extraordinary newsgathering potential; its potential as a new tool to engage the audience and as a way of distributing news”.

The recent super-injunction scandal has also proved how much influence social media has over the news agenda. The story broke via Twitter, and traditional newspapers merely followed suit. Meanwhile, legislation elsewhere in the media serves as a further acknowledgement of the power of social media – for instance, the FA, together with the UK’s major news agencies, recently wrote new policies allowing for the increased use of social media in football reporting.

The message is clear: if you are serious about collecting and broadcasting your news, whether you are a news agency or a company with services and products to publicise, then you need to be using social media.