Technology has evolved, changing how we receive news and information as well as who can create it. In order to keep up with the transformation of journalism, legacy media will need to consider how their audience prefers to consume content and whether or not to evolve or become irrelevant.
Mashable reports that social media is taking over the news industry, meaning that ordinary citizens are breaking stories over platforms like Twitter rather than finding out about these events on the front page of newspapers or websites, suggesting “traditional news outlets [have] become increasingly less relevant to the digital generation”.
This shift to ‘citizen journalism’ has allowed the stories of the unheard to get a public audience, says The Sundial. It’s because of these ‘scoops’ from the public and the attention they garnish online that they reach the television and other legacy media mediums. A prominent example is the Twitter coverage of the Ferguson Protests, in which individuals harnessed the “see something, say something” mentality.
The Sydney Morning Herald has a strong opinion stating that “citizen journalism… could not be considered a plausible alternative to traditional journalism”. Their reasoning is that citizen journalists are not reliable as a professional journalist as it’s “arguably more akin to blogging than broadsheet reportage”, as well as suggesting citizen journalists favour stories derived from “personal belief rather than evidence”.
In addition, the preference to digital news has contributed to the fall of print media. The Huffington Post reports that this because users “feel the traditional outlets are ‘too slow’ or that their reporting has ‘too much of an agenda'”. Thus, consumers have turned to social media to get instant news that in most cases that is covered by every day people on devices that take photos, video and who don’t have an agenda, but rather just to share with the world what is going on.
There is no doubt that as long as social media is around there will be citizen journalism. It’s just a question of what the consumer will choose as their platform for news.