As with many other industries, journalism has changed and evolved over the years. As people grow and new technologies enter the field, journalism has been forced to adapt. Some of these changes will be more obvious – such as the transition toward a digital medium. Other changes take more effort to spot.
To see all the ways journalism has changed over the years, one must look to the past. Journalism began in the 17th century, with journalists more focused on individual town news. From there, it steadily grew, encompassing states, then countries. Now information can be spread on a global scale. Let’s take a look at some of the more recent changes.
Journalism in the Digital Age
Technology has forever changed the way journalism works. People can now access any news they want – regardless of physical location – anytime. This has been an excellent way for the world to stay connected and up-to-date.
This transition does come at a cost. Journalists must work harder than ever, as the news has never changed this fast. While there is still room for more in-depth articles and journalistic forms, much of the media has been dominated by the need for timely articles.
Unfortunately, this is not the only change that journalism faces due to the digital transition. Traditional journalism has been hard-pressed to stay as current as online journalism, resulting in many small papers shutting down.
Any online outlet, be it a newspaper or a fan site, will tell you that there’s a constant battle for clicks happening in the background. In other words, media outlets are fighting to get the news out the fastest. Those with breaking news will get the most clicks. In turn, these clicks drive traffic and income.
Alternatively, some media outlets have stopped focusing on speed and instead opted to focus on another way to drive traffic: intrigue. To put it simply, they are feeding the public’s need for information, even when that information isn’t always accurate. This option negatively impacts the perception of journalism as a whole.
Believe it or not, social media has significantly impacted journalism. This is at least partially connected to the competition for clicks. An article that goes viral on social media is more likely to obtain more clicks. Conversely, social media can also draw away a potential audience. This makes finding a balance difficult, especially as social media platforms struggle with misinformation.