Gone are the days of families huddled around radios in their living rooms waiting to hear the news. Gone are the days of television broadcasts being one of the main channels for Americans to pick up on current events. And (nearly) gone are the newspaper industry’s glory days.
“We are living in the age of digital Darwinism,” wrote Mark Briggs in the introduction of his book, Journalism Next.
Digitization has transformed journalism. Nowadays, most people have been turning to unconventional news outlets to learn what is going on in the world. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Tumblr have become increasingly popular. Print newspapers are having a difficult time competing against the fast-paced, interactive face of digital journalism.
It has been difficult for many journalists to embrace this change. Learning how to effectively utilize digital journalism can be a tedious process. People who are not tech savvy will have to acquire a new skill set in order to enter the field of digital journalism. Even millenials, who usually possess basic digital skills, will need to advance their computer capabilities in order to succeed as journalists today.
While learning the dos and don’ts of digital journalism may be a painstaking process, it is important for all journalists to immerse themselves into that world because no journalist will be able to make a difference without using the proper mouthpiece.
Blogging and microblogging are two key components of digital journalism that are accessible to beginners. According to Briggs, “Every college journalist should have a blog. And a Twitter account. Period.”
Blogging allows journalists to develop a community of readers to test ideas, receive feedback, and publish in a timely manner. It transforms journalism from a one-sided way of giving information into an open conversation for anyone and everyone who cares to contribute. With all of the other advances in digital journalism blogging may seem like an antiquated process, but, in fact, blogging has become such a basic pattern for information on the Internet that some people think it feels weird that blogging even needs to have a name.
“Its simplicity, immediacy and interactivity improved journalism throughout the first decade of the new century, bringing journalists and their audiences closer and removing the constraints of time and space that once limited a journalists ability to report a story and engage an audience,” Briggs wrote.
Microblogging is a more recent advancement to blogging. Microblogging is a new form of social media that allows users to publish brief text messages of less than 140 characters with links to other Web sites, photos, or videos. It is an effective medium for breaking news. It also makes blogging easier for people who have a hard time consistently writing up longer blog posts.
Budding journalists should learn about blogging and microblogging. It is an easy way to begin venturing out into the world of digital journalism, and writing can be a lot more fulfilling when it is done for a community of active readers.
Plus, having a blog and a Twitter account have become standard in today’s day and age. It can be embarrassing to be caught without one, like it was for me when I had my first in-depth story published and people were looking to tag me in tweets discussing and promoting my article.
Save yourself the embarrassment – stay ahead of the curve!