The news industry is seeing a dramatic shift in how people access current events in the U.S. With the tools of new technology, audiences have more options. Through Internet portal sites, handheld devices, blogs and instant messaging, people have many different avenues in which we can gain and sort information. This has lead professional journalists and traditional media sources to try to create something more attractive to the younger generation.
According to a survey sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, people between the ages of 18 and 34 currently favor the internet over any other type of news source. Local T.V. news came in second, cable news being the next, then newspapers. The survey also indicated that 44 percent of those surveyed intended to increase their usage of the Internet as a viable news source. Criteria that were most chosen in the survey as being “Critically Important” when selecting a news source were: being up-to-date, trust-worthy and being alerted to damaging or harmful situations. The survey went on to state that television networks are considered the “Most Trustworthy” while newspapers and Internet deemed as less trustworthy. However, people between 18 and 24 are more likely to get their news from late night talk shows than from their local news station.
Samantha Ebey, a business advertising major at Yuba College said, “This new era of journalism I think will flip everything on its head. I think in the future the sources of media will not be fewer but instead more concentrated into niche categories. Newspaper will be local. Internet (will be) global and so on.”
Is this what we have to look forward to? With the ability to have access to quality audio and video recording capabilities not available to the average consumer even five years ago, the everyday citizen can play an influential role in reporting the news.
Citizen journalism, also known as “participatory journalism,” is the act of citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information,” according to the seminal report “We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information,” by Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis. This trend according to Bowman and Willis, ”Will become more apparent in the next five years. Across all media outlets, the audience will play a more interactive role in how the news is delivered.”
This means professional news stories alongside weblogs on Cnn.com. In the future, a citizen may be able to feed live video to T.V. broadcasts. A well-respected and well-known weblogger, Jay Rosen, wrote in his article, “The People formerly known as the Audience” wrote, “The people formerly known as the audience are simply the public made realer, less fictional, more able, less predictable.”
This new trend in news gathering and reporting may lead to a collaborative effort between professional and amateur reporters who will likely give a broader and deeper aspect to the news.