Identity Crisis: Am I a Journalist?
by Julia G. on February 4, 2017 - 4:04pm
In a new age defined by technology, social media provides a platform for individuals all over the world to publish pieces of writing. Whether it is a 140 character tweet, or a Facebook post, the identity of a journalist is questioned in the newspaper article, "Digital Age Rewrites the Role of Journalism" written by David Marsh which was published to The Guardian on October 16, 2012.
In the past, the definition of a journalist was as simple as an individual working for a newspaper producing a piece of literature that would go on to be published and was accessible to the public. However, we are currently living in a decade where individuals have constant access to social media and it is changing the way journalism is perceived. There are many scenarios which create confusion in terms of describing someone as a journalist. For instance, if someone happens to be in Beijing on a work related trip and is subject to the red alert put in place because of the smog, and they happen to tweet about it, are they considered a journalist? If I post my views about the shooting at the Mosque in Quebec City on my Facebook page, does that make me a journalist? Does writing this piece make me a journalist? Does someone need to be working for a newspaper to be considered as a journalist? A meeting held by The Guardian was set in place to discuss the idea of what journalism is considered to be. One of the journalists quoted in this article claimed that, "If journalism is telling people what they want to know, what I do is journalism." Another argued that tweeting is a form of journalism as well as posting to Facebook, and the release of podcasts. Personally, I agree with the statement of one of the journalist quoted who claimed that, "Journalism is about investigating stories and knowing how to tell them." However, in this day in age where everyone is able to be considered a journalist, it threatens the future of factual and reliable journalism.
Funding for journalism has become a concern as serious journalists are worried for the future of good quality, factual journalism. Social media based reporters, some of which do not even realize they may be considered journalists, do not put in as much effort into fact checking and researching. Good quality journalism can only carry on if there are funds to support it. Thus, there is continuous search for a business model that will be able to support the future of quality and factual journalism. This will benefit us all in order to eliminate the possibility of "fake news."