Column: Creating a new era, one journalism student at a time

As print publications increasingly become obsolete, digital journalism is becoming more diverse than it ever has been.

Olivia Apostolovski is a freshman pre-Journalism major at MU. She is an opinions columnist who writes about social issues for the Maneater.

As we evolved from a print-based culture to a digitally-dependent one, our entire world as we know it has rapidly changed. Nighttime routines for children used to be memorizing the same fairytales cover to cover, now it is children entertaining themselves with their iPads and watching cartoons to fall asleep.

Every generation is looked down upon for adapting to the technology that has completely encompassed our lives. Visits back home wouldn’t be complete without grandparents making remarks about young people, social media and the amount of time spent on it, then mumbling something that always starts with “back in my day…”

Each industry has had to adapt in different ways, with some expanding rapidly and others depleting rapidly. The journalism industry has been tried with the change of print to digital. The first newspaper in America was published in 1690 by Boston printer Benjamin Harris. His work was titled “Publick Occurrences” and was four pages long, but the governor of Massachusetts objected to the paper being printed without his permission and as a result, the paper was suppressed.

Flash forward more than 300 years later and journalism is flourishing in ways that Harris could not have even dreamt of. We have the ability to go to any news outlet we wish and can do anything from being educated about a new subject in a matter of minutes to learning a story of a child in a war-torn country. As a result of all of this rapid advancement, the possibilities of what can be accomplished through digital journalism are endless.

The changes in medium from print to online, whether it be a post on Facebook, a tweet, a blog post or any other type of medium have made news more inviting to the public. An article in a newspaper spread is solidified by the medium that it is in since it is on paper it seems like it is indisputable source.

The digital era has increasingly created a sense of uneasiness in the public. Although the ethics of journalism are very clear in defining that reporters shouldn’t have bias, sometimes it isn’t the easiest to avoid.

As a journalism student, there are many aspects of the argument of the “journalism industry is dying” that I both disagree and agree with. Yes, the print publication and the newspaper side of the industry is something that is coming to an end. It isn’t as convenient for people to hold something that isn’t their phone in their hand, especially when they can get the same news instantly online.

However, the convenience factor has increased tenfold. There is news for everyone, at any time of day, about anything they wish to know. Just like playlists and music, there are an abundance of news sources that give out information that can be carefully curated to fit an individual's taste. There is also not just one way of getting news. Information is available on any and every platform, whether it be articles on websites if you’re interested in a long read or 30-second video clips posted by CNN or Fox.

With the accessibility of technology and the ability of everyone to be constantly connected, you don’t necessarily have to be educated in order to be a journalist. There are such things as citizen journalists, which as the name suggests, are individuals who just happen to be in the right place at the right time who have access to a device and a platform that is able to spread viable information.

There are pros and cons to this amateur form of journalism. It is easier to get the information out and it can be shown to the public at a much faster rate than if a well-known newspaper were to report on that same subject area. However, just because that information can be posted on a platform and can go viral in a short amount of time does not mean that it is viable. Whenever an article or a column is written, there is a multiple step process that involves a handful of people who carefully read through and dissect the entirety of what the reporter is saying. This ensures that all information is factual and is based on actual events. However, this process doesn’t happen for citizen journalism because the information is only coming and leaving from one source.

As new forms of involvement with the public emerge each and everyday, it is a fact that journalism will always be needed, just not in the traditional forms we all may have been accustomed to seeing. The transition from print to digital has made it easier for more individuals to have a voice and for more sides of the story to be seen. We have entered a new era of information that has made it possible for anyone to know anything at once, and it hopefully will help to get rid of ignorance.

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