The only noise heard in the room is the clickety-click of fingers flying across the keyboards of students transfixed by the message from two broadcasters. It is the sound of change. It is the sound of a new era. It is the sound of the future.
“Business has changed a lot,” said Lin Sue Cooney, co-anchor of News12 in Phoenix, to a group of journalism students at Arizona State University. “You need to use social media.”
Cooney and her co-Anchor Mark Curtis said they must “immerse themselves social media” keep up with what the viewers want.
“I think the blogosphere has changed what we do exponentially,” said Curtis. “It’s changed how the viewers consume news.”
As expectations increase, publications begin expand their website. Read a story in newspaper, a video clip of the event might be included online or even a Twitpic from a “citizen journalist.”
Curtis said it is difficult to keep up with Twitter and Facebooks and the blogs and give the viewers news.
“If we don’t deliver something that they’ve been reading about all day on the blogosphere,” said Curtis, “all of a sudden we’re not relevant anymore.”
According to statistics on Memeburn’s website, Twitter has reduced the time a news story takes to reach the public by online publishing by almost an hour and half and cut an entire eight hours out before it is published in conventional print publications.
“We both have Facebook pages and we both have Twitter accounts,” said Curtis “We’re supposed to Facebook and Twitter throughout the day”
Curtis and Cooney said that with all the blogs made available to the public, people are failing to ask whether their source is supplying trustworthy news.
“When you talk about the blogosphere,” said Cooney, “sometimes the facts are wrong. It’s erroneous and people read that and take it as fact.”
Add Curtis, “The line between fact and fiction in a blogosphere is very grey. So much of what is on the blogosphere is strictly opinion and people take that as fact. There’s not a lot of thinking of weather it is fact or fiction.”
Curtis said his jo is to deliver facts without opinion.
“You should not be able to tell what our political affiliation is if we are doing our job right or our opinion about single subject we are reading,” said Cooney.
Curtis and Cooney are seasoned vets who pride themselves on an unbiased deliverance of the news and feel social media is clouding the minds of their viewers. But, as a sign of times changing many students do no share their opinion of social media’s role in journalism.
“I think [social media] could help journalism,” said Torunn Sinclair, a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. “Facebook and Twitter could be a very easy way to get quotes.” Also, with the help of tools like ProjectInsta, it is now easier to grow your network and therefore you can be easily updated and informed about the current issues in our world.
Assistant Dean Mark Lodato says that the anchors stance towards the future of blogging is beneficial for the students.
“That issue of blogging and how much my opinion I put out versus keeping it on the straight an narrow is a nice way to give students insight on what they face, from someone who comes from a more traditional journalism background who is now thrust with the these new challenges of their job,” aid Lodato.