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How has social media affected Modern Journalism?

Social media is nothing short of a REVOLUTION in the field of journalism, but the question as to whether it is for the better or the worse remains debatable. Interactive dialogue, online debates, and heated discussions are the norm for netizens to discuss political and social issues, and for journalists as sources to cite in their articles and findings. News has become a two-way street instead of a one-way broadcast as there is more room for interpretation of the latest happenings.

Ground reports can be shared in a matter of seconds. For example, social media alerted people of an earthquake which was coming before meteorology institutes as a Twitter user plugged the seismographic readings into the platform and the whole world knew about it.

Platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit allow journalists to reach and connect with their audience in real time. Public opinions can also be collected in moments through the use of polls.

However, news is so easy to share that almost anyone can call themselves a journalist and it can be difficult to find “real news”. This is why “FACT CHECKS” must be done by consulting multiple platforms to ensure the credibility of news. This has made it harder for journalists to report real information and 32% of journalists find social media posts to be unreliable.

“There are so many voices to be heard that can be good or bad with so much news to be told”.

Social media has another unanticipated outcome, the rise of MEMES. Memes are used by most Gen-Z people to keep up with ever-evolving world affairs and they have connected an entire generation with an easy-to-understand humorous lingo. However, memes often end up trivialising serious subjects, spreading fake news, and raising controversies. They are often targeted to influence young people. Memes can ease the process in which opinions are shared and formed but sometimes, they change the whole point of news, leading to implausibility in articles shared with reference to them and the idea created in the minds of people.

Harassment of journalists on social media is another major concern. 76% of journalists who were harassed in the past year stated that it happened online with threats of physical harm, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and exposure of private information.

Also, social media platforms have too much control over what goes viral and the mix of news that people see, showing one-sided views of issues to the majority. This isn’t democratic and doesn’t give everyone the right to raise their voice.

The final answer as to whether social media has changed journalism for the better or the worse depends upon the individual journalist and how they utilise the platform. Younger journalists call it a boon while others disagree. A piece of advice to the viewers from our side would be to consult multiple sources when viewing information about much-discussed topics and choose what’s correct for themselves since the problem of fake news is far from being solved and cannot be controlled in the era of free speech.


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