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JOURNALISM IN A RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD

Hyacinth Alapa.

BY HYACINTH ALAPA

News gathering remains a primary job for a journalist. As it were in 1920, so it is today. Anyone can profess to infer how to gather news but one essential feature of a journalist is his/her mastery to produce news, following journalism ethics and doing so with a sense of responsibility.

It is important to remind us how the newspaper came to be in Guttenberg’s Printing Press. The news was primarily communicated, using traditional news medium-newspaper. This leading form of news dissemination lasted until around 1983-1984.

In 1984, the new media was birthed. This has changed a whole lot about news reporting/journalism. Rice, (1984) defined new media as communication technologies that enable or facilitate user-to-user interactivity and interactivity between user and information. Such definition replaces the one-to-many model of traditional mass communication with the possibility of a “many to many” web of communication.    

It took a long time and effort for a traditional newspaper to adopt online journalism. The media organizations that did know it either embraced it or they faded away. This is because quite a number of people who read news opted for online versions for cheaper and convenient reasons.

Today, journalism has evolved. The internet has ushered it into a new era known as the digital age. Readers of news content are exposed to different ways of receiving news via mobile devices.

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For example, breaking news notifications and human interest stories can be received real-time.

With the emergence of the new media, the use of digital reporting tools became a drawback for journalists trained in the early ’60s. It is fundamental to note that analogue TV is not categorized as new media; hence, the clamour for digitalization of today’s television.

Today’s journalist is expected to add to his writing prowess, photography and video skills. It is not startling why some media houses have decided to train journalists on photography and video skills. Others have gone straight ahead to engage photo and video editors; those we may refer to as “photojournalists”.

There is also a trend in the 21st century journalism known as “iReport” or “iWitness”. This bestows on anyone the liberty to send in news report or information on any topical issue to news organizations. 

The internet age comes with so many pros and cons as pictures and videos could easily be manipulated to push an agenda. This has mounted a lot of pressure on news organizations to stay with the facts. But the attempt to break news fast sometimes label these organizations with “fake news” as it is difficult verifying the stories when faced with breaking news fast.

The internet has come to stay and so it is with online news. Media organizations and journalists must embrace the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that come with it if they must thrive.

v  Alapa, a human resources expert, wrote in from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria.

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