Old and New Media

By Steve Byers

It’s becoming clearer and clearer that we need to change our thinking about media— let’s quit talking about “old media” and “new media” because it’s just “media.” A fascinating report from the public relations field really strikes home how journalists are both relying on digital media and using it for publishing purposes, whether they are working in a print field or now.

Here are a couple of points from the report, which you should read in depth, although there is a nice summary at Crisis Comm, a thoughtful emergency management blog:

−Journalists are leaning on social media for obtaining news. The figures are startling, 47 percent of journalists get new from Twitter and 35 percent from Facebook.  I use “startling” only in the sense that we haven’t thought about this because I find myself using social media for much of my news. I do prefer blogs rather than Twitter or Facebook only because I’m a news geek who likes news in depth.

− The study reports that journalists say online channels for their news content are more important than print. Many print publications are monitoring digital postings and using their number as part of evaluation processes. Both Twitter (54 percent of journalists use it to disseminate news) and blogs (54 percent) are very popular.

Finally, a comment unrelated to the study. The growth of digital really came home to me − a journalist whose career was mostly in print with some radio/TV−when I found myself quoting an “emergency management” blog. First, I discovered it totally because of digital media. Second, I found myself valuing the information more than its source − in other words, I had total trust in the news value of information that was created for the public relations industry.

The old barriers have totally gone, at least for me.

Steve Byers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication. Read his blog from the college’s backpack journalism workshop in Cagli, Italy this summer at http://rats1.blogspot.com.

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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