What is Digital Journalism?
Digital journalism refers to news and its accompaniments produced through digital media. It is increasingly incorporated into traditional print and broadcast journalism. Many newspapers also publish an Internet equivalent each day, and lots of television news stations have interactive sites that could offer podcasts, headlines or full stories, and a variety of other features. Since reliance on news has increasingly focused on getting news off the Internet, this remains a growing form of journalism that has negatively affected other forms of media, particularly standard print media.
Digital journalism can come from recognized and authoritative news sources, but individuals or small groups that may have a defined slant also produce it. Examples of the latter include sites like The Huffington Post and Politico, and the gloves are off on many web sites in terms of what can or will be printed. Since anyone with an Internet connection can find a way to write or publish a news story, the idea of leaving information out or hoping to hide any information is essentially over. What anyone says, does, or expresses can easily be shown on a YouTube® video, and written on a website, or even on a Tweet, and in a sense, digital journalism can be said to have launched the careers of millions of amateur journalists who work for free.
Some digital journalism news sites that may be traditional in nature do pay their employees to write for them, and are often considered as more reliable sources of news. Others are unfortunately not careful about facts and truth value (an opinion is as good as researched material), and this usually leads to sites possessing a certain amount of credibility or lacking it. Credible sites certainly exist and they may be connected to real life newspapers or separated from them. The average person reading a site might not necessarily make this distinction, however, which can lead to a constant proliferation of misinformation and conjecture.
With the drying up of many traditional journalism jobs due to reducing staff on newspapers or closure of some print publications, something predicted back in the 1990s when digital journalism first garnered notice, many wonder if they can get jobs as digital journalists. Those with impressive communications, and writing or journalism credentials might easily fit into work at more credible websites and others start their own blogs about the news using advertisement revenue as earnings or freelance for a number of different news sources. This may be lucrative or not very profitable. Many times, even on sites that are respected, contributions are not paid for, and a number of websites have citizen journalist positions. Public commentary on news may even be incorporated into television news broadcasts; in the late 2000s CNN® began filling some of their broadcasts with public comments made on their website.
With the proliferation of a number of devices, making or obtaining news has never been easier, especially in free press countries. A cellphone or smartphone could be used to record video of events, to type in a quick blog about a news issue, or to trade emails with sources for stories. This means virtually anyone can contribute to the sum of information/misinformation about what is occurring in the world, and many people enjoy this practice, even if it earns no profit.
It’s hard to know if digital journalism has a saturation point, or if there will exist a time at which there will be too many online news sources and not enough profit to go around. This could be telling for not just journalists but also photographers, editors, and many others. Certainly, reduction in staff and production at many newspapers has already had an effect on the jobs of printers, lithographers and people who deliver the papers. This is seen as an unfortunate side effect of Internet development, but also viewed by many as an inevitable one that knows no reverse. Moreover profit may only be a concern to trained professionals and is not an issue for citizen journalists, which may further diminish ability to get journalism jobs in the future.
Any journalist who hopes to have a job, say, 10 years from now should get heavily involved in digital journalism. That's the future, folks.
Some of the better digital journalism outlets work almost exactly like newspapers -- they have general assignment reporters, beat reporters, editors who assign stories and everything else that looks familiar to most journalists. The only difference is they don't print on newspaper and that means they save a ton of money on ink, paper, printing presses, pressmen and other people.
Those better outlets also subscribe to the same code of ethics that guides "traditional" journalists. It is very promising to see digital journalists who embrace traditional ethics and reporting practices because we need people. Unless you want all of your news to be generated by corporations, the government and public relations types, independent journalism must thrive.
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