Open sources, digital journalism weave together

28 Mar

Over the past 10 years, journalism has gone from mostly newspapers to almost completely digital. With the massive growth of technology that has occurred, this has been pretty much inevitable.

One growing portion of digital journalism is the blog. Blogs are becoming some of our main sources for news, so they need to be marketed efficiently. Liz Borod Wright of Mashable gives some great tips on how bloggers can utilize social media; even I have started using them for my own blog. Digital journalism has also allowed for reader participation. Programs like OpenFile let readers suggest the story ideas rather than the editors. Although through this tool some may think readers are becoming the journalists, they are only suggesting the ideas for a story, making both regular and digital newspapers more interesting to read. Readers can then tweet about stories they’ve suggested, sparking discussion.

Although this is not news to anyone, even newspaper websites are using social media in their reporting. Foursquare and Facebook check-ins by both reporters and average citizens can help viewers find out where something is happening in their community. If they wanted, Twitter users could even tweet something they saw happening in their neighborhood to their local news station, thus allowing even more open sources. To think that the Wall Street Journal’s use of Foursquare was a small contribution in helping bring Hurricane Irene to the national circuit is incredible.

Since news has become a flurry of tweets and status updates, Mathew Ingram of Gigaom is correct in saying that news is now considered a process rather than a finished piece. Recently the Trayvon Martin story has been gaining awareness through Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, and more updates on his death are being posted every day, even every few hours. Hashtags have made finding news topics easier (ex: Justice4Trayvon).

Of course, with the addition of new technology, news story structures have changed as well. There are so many components that go into an article now, from personalization to participation. The practice of “real-time” news has also become important with the rise of instant updates via computer and mobile phone.

Magazines like Sports Illustrated and The Atlantic have done remarkable jobs of keeping up with digitalism in this new age of journalism. Because Sports Illustrated lacks a digital department and is therefore practicing digitalism in all aspects of its newsroom, they have set forth a movement that other magazines should follow.

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