By: Amy Cooper, Detroit Ginger

As technology becomes more multi-faceted and requires more than just a pen and paper, seasoned Journalists who have not maintained their sense of freshness will be sent out to pasture. A new wave has arrived in form of Digital Journalism, and in it’s vital state becomes a job requirement to complete the delivery of news to the sucking cyclone of data being flowed into smartphones, computers, and through the irises.

With this instant “I WANT IT NOW” type of need for information, Journalists must constantly be on their toes, always have both eyes open, and above all else, be able to see the story. UC Berkley Graduate School of Journalism’s Paul Grabowicz writes: “As more people consume news online, news organizations face the dilemma of reallocating resources to attract new readers and viewers while still trying to hold on to their existing, and usually aging, print or broadcast audiences.” This means using the technology they have in front of them to expedite the process of news sharing around the globe.

Citizen Journalism Creates Exposure for News

Many will slam the craft of the example of Citizen Journalists, saying that it isn’t accurately formed, unbiased information because it isn’t being distributed through the normal channels, but in certain types of situations, especially in places holding true corruption, Citizen Journalism is the only way to address these issues. In 2014 and 2015, we have seen an increase in Citizen Journalism airplay, and a large portion of it stems from racism. It began with Michael Brown, a teenager who was murdered by a Police Officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and became a movement for black voices to issue their concern of how racial profiling had become erratic. Many college campuses and different groups posted photos with hands raised, as a #DontShoot campaign to signify the support of the many lives lost due to this type of behavior.

With these powerful statements and releases, more cases came to surface like Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott and Eric Garner being choked to death by New York City Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Though mainstream media wants us to believe that there isn’t an influx of police brutality, but rather just more media exposure to it, these acts of Citizen Journalism expose what is really occurring in the United States.

Ferguson isn’t the first example of this kind of citizen journalism, which has been going on for years in any number of other places including Iran, Egypt, Occupy Wall Street and Syria. But the videos, blog posts, tweets, and photos from French and others on the ground have complemented the work of the traditional journalists on the scene – and have reminded us of what is becoming a civic duty in today’s America.” – Dan Gilmor, The Guardian

These moments captured by average citizens that have access to the internet have made Digital Journalism what it is today, and in turn, Digital Journalism would not be as coveted as it is now if Citizen Journalism didn’t exist. Another great digital tool is utilizing social media to expand in global reach.  Time Magazine or ABC News having digital versions that are easier to export to a viewer rather than requiring them pick up a magazine or sit down and watch the television. They can get the news when they request it, glance at it on Facebook or retweet it on Twitter. Other platforms like GlobalVoicesOnline.org are purely running on the fumes of Digital Journalism, spreading their seed through the wires, while sites and phone applications like News360 and Pulse are a melting pot aggregated topics.

Social Media Madness and the Effect on Journalism

Utilizing these tools have become intriguing to scholars, and have been subject of research on why it is effective. Washington Post’s Andrea Peterson reports that polled Journalists felt that social media is a “vehicle for self-promotion — more than 80 percent agreed that it helped them share their work, and more than two thirds said they are more engaged with their audiences thanks to the platforms.” On top of this, ING.com’s research on social media and journalists shows that “a majority of journalists feel less bound by journalistic rules on social media,” thus making it both more enticing to use, and for multiple types of people to use it.

As this digital mesh continues with the latest smartphone, the most updated devices, and the influx of digital improvement as the years pass, the big picture is that the information age has improved and expanded Journalism in a multitude of ways, and once newspapers find a way to go completely digital, they’ll never look back, except maybe to wrap birthday gifts in the comics section.

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