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State of Journalism: in Social Media Era


By

Yohane Mbeeya Moono
An Alumni of the Zambia Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies
Journalism for Social Change

Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities. Journalism can be distinguished from other activities and products by certain identifiable characteristics and practices.

Social media has changed the news is disseminated to the public. In the Era of social media it is lightning fast and sometimes not accurate. One common activity that is almost overtaking Journalism is Blogging. This has been escalated by the increase in social media platforms and target audience of the said activity

What is Journalism?

Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on the interaction of events, facts, ideas, and people that are the news of the day and that informs society to at least some degree. The word, a noun, applies to the occupation or professional or not the methods of gathering information, and the organizing literary styles. Journalistic media include print, television, radio, Internet, and, in the past, newsreels.

The appropriate role for journalism varies from countries to country, as do perceptions of the profession, and the resulting status. In some nations, the news media are controlled by government and are not independent. In others, news media are independent of the government and operate as private industry. In addition, countries may have differing implementations of laws handling the freedom of speech, freedom of the press as well as slander and libel cases.
The proliferation of the Internet and smartphones has brought significant changes to the media landscape since the turn of the 21st century.

This has created a shift in the consumption of print media channels, as people increasingly consume news through social media platforms, e-readers, smartphones, and other personal electronic devices, as opposed to the more traditional formats of newspapers, magazines, or television news channels.
News organizations are challenged to fully monetize their digital wing, as well as improvise on the context in which they publish in print. Newspapers have seen print revenues sink at a faster pace than the rate of growth for digital revenues.

Journalism has been hard hit with the advent of social media and it is perhaps the reason that Fake News has been very rampant in recent years. Fake news is false or misleading information presented as news. Fake news often has the aim of damaging the reputation of a person or entity, or making money through advertising revenue. Although false news has always been spread throughout history, the term “fake news” was first used in the 1890s when sensational reports in newspapers were common.

Nevertheless, the term does not have a fixed definition and has been applied broadly to any type of false information. It’s also been used by high-profile people to apply to any news unfavourable to them. Further, disinformation involves spreading false information with harmful intent and is sometimes generated and propagated by hostile foreign actors, particularly during elections. In some definitions, fake news includes satirical articles misinterpreted as genuine, and articles that employ sensationalist or clickbait headlines that are not supported in the text. Because of this diversity of types of false news, researchers are beginning to favour information disorder as a more neutral and informative term.

Role of Government in the Media

Governments world over have invested millions of money in a bid to curb this growing trend of fake news which has far reaching consequences.
A war of words has often and from time to time ensued between Journalists and Bloggers. Journalists have always contended that every news item should have a verifiable source while Bloggers often post their opinions on certain matters. What brings the bone of contention usually is the following that Bloggers tend to command and that tends to put into question the role of journalists in today’s world.

Government always have the duty to ensure that citizens get the correct and factual information. In advanced and growing democracies, the media is regarded as the fourth estate of the arms of government. This is because the government always depends upon the media to disseminate information about the different programmes it is undertaking. Therefore,Journalism remains a critical profession to the government.

Blogging a New Challenge for Journalism

Blogging is another aspect that is serious putting the long time profession of Journalism on the verge of extinction. Blogging refers to writing, photography, and other media that’s self-published online. Blogging started as an opportunity for individuals to write diary-style entries, but it has since been incorporated into websites for many businesses

Blogging is not journalism and vice-versa. Journalism is a profession defined by the code of ethics. There are over 242 codes of ethics in journalism that vary across various regions of the world. The codes of ethics are created through an interaction of different groups of people such as the public and journalists themselves.

Most of the codes of ethics serve as a representation of the economic and political beliefs of the society where the code was written. Despite the fact that there are a variety of codes of ethics, some of the core elements present in all codes are: remaining objective, providing the truth, and being honest. Bloggers in their attempt not to spread what can be term as Fake News, they try by all means to adhere to the ethics that govern journalism.

Bloggers should never take the place of journalists however interesting and wider audience blogging may have. The current status quo is that people feel bloggers provide first hand information as compared to Journalists. However, Journalists are guided by ethics and do not want to have their professional in put in disrepute. Journalists, would desire to release the breaking news but they always wait to verify the source of the information as guided by their professional ethics

Conclusion

Journalism has faced the greatest battle to remain the major source of news for communities around the world since the profession was first introduced due to the emergency of blogging and other social media activities which tend to overlap to take the roles of Journalism.

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Published by MyWritings

A Writer, A Diplomat in Waiting, Climate Change Advocate and a Football Administrator

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