The Role of Journalism Today
By Ashton Hare
Journalism has changed in many ways over the past few decades.
The reason for the shift in journalism is the introduction of the internet.
With the world going digital and people having the capability of getting their news anytime and anywhere, the need for newspapers and journalists who engage in that type of journalistic writing has decreased.
However, a complete transition to the digital age has not been completely accomplished. The need for journalists and their skills will always be needed, which is why they haven’t been replaced by the new age.
Sue Hinton, a retired professor from OCCC and a lifetime journalist, spoke to OCCC Journalism and Broadcasting students about journalism and the impact the internet has had on it.
“The internet has not only changed the way people consume news on newspapers, which is to say it has really put some newspapers in their grave,” Hinton said.
People used to get their information through word of mouth, and then through newspapers.
Once the internet was invented, all of that changed. People left behind printed paper and looked at their cell phone screens to get information.
Humans want convenience, fast and easy, and that is what the internet provides.
Waiting a day to get the news from newspapers is not what people in this era want to do.
They like getting their news quickly and at the touch of a button.
Hinton said another reason for the fall in journalism is advertising.
“Newspapers were funded by advertising. Advertising is no longer the primary source of funding and that is huge,” she said.
Papers, just like any social organization, are dependent on readers and the people who sponsor them. Without either of those sources newspapers cannot sustain themselves and will eventually crumble.
There is no doubt that the news has changed, but how exactly has it changed?
“One of the biggest changes that has occurred is that people still get news, but people don’t get newspapers on their front porch and they don’t necessarily watch television news. They may still see the content, but they don’t necessarily see it on a traditional news platform,” she said.
People are getting their news, but it isn’t from the traditional sites.
This also affects how people process and analyze media.
The way media is distributed has a lot of changes for journalists’ careers.
“The people who pay the journalists or the newspapers that hired them and the TV stations that hired them. The number of people actually out on the streets collecting news has probably declined by 50%,” Hinton said.
The introduction of the internet and the digital age has been pretty disastrous for print journalism.
With news just a few clicks away and available at all times of the day, people feel like they have no need for newspapers or journalists to write articles.
Without readers and sponsors, newspapers fall into decline. Journalists were let go or fired because newspapers couldn’t hold onto their employees.
As Hinton pointed out, 50 percent of journalists have disappeared from the streets. This means that people aren’t on the street out in the world getting relevant and important news.
The world requires journalists to function. Journalists distribute the truth and uncover lies. Without these writers, the news is not as widely distributed or known by people across the world.
Their importance to the world of news and to the world in general cannot be underestimated.
This is why the number of journalists must increase instead of decrease, and the world must realize and value their skills.