Journalism and social media: Can they co-exist?


Tweet from twitter user
Tweet from twitter user

Social media is still evolving. There is no doubt some changes are needed in order to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not. It is clear there is a need for trained journalists, and social media is seeing the need for this change. Recently, Facebook launched the “Journalism Project” to work closely with journalists and to limit fake news.

While there have been some concerns about what’s real and what’s not on the Internet, it is clear social media has allowed journalists to find news easily. Reporters are able to share and receive content in matters of minutes, reach a wider margin in one go and also created new job positions such as social media editors.

This is remarkable, as social media has only been around for just about a decade.

And yet the relationship between social media and journalism has been a controversial one. When news broke Facebook users were posting fake news during the U.S election. The conversation was moved to the forefront.

Over the years, social media has evolved and become a platform for breaking news, and also a tool for the journalism world. This new age of reporting has journalists scrambling to adapt. For readers, the Internet is the go-to place for news updates.

According to a survey by Canada News Wire (CNW), 62 per cent of young adults in Canada prefer to read their news online.

There has been a growing problem in journalism: social media has caused some hiccups between trained journalists and citizen journalists. Let’s use the recent U.S. election as an example. During the election debate teams of live fact-checkers on Facebook ensured the statements being made by the candidates were accurate. This tactic revealed some of the statements made by Donald Trump were false.

According to Journalist Resource, 63 per cent of Facebook users get their news from Facebook. This could potentially pose a problem if this forum is spreading fake news. But Facebook is just one of a wide range of options.

According to an article in Recode, an online media website, President Obama was quoted, on his last international trip as president, saying, “If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect.”  Daniel Dale would agree.

Daniel Dale, the Toronto Star writer dubbed the “the lie-tracker” for his part in fact checking Trump’s statements, has received some great reviews. Fact-Checkers are very important to journalism, especially today when fake news is easily attainable and hard to detect.

There is some room for improvement, but we can’t dismiss the fact that social media has changed the way we give and receive news in an easy to use format. This Facebook fake news conundrum has set back the collaboration between traditional reporters and the social media. But, let’s not forget the time when social media kept us updated on the news.

On May 12, 2008 Twitter users tweeted an earthquake had hit Beijing, China’s capital city and had taken thousands of lives. The video was then later picked up by the press.

In another instance, on Feb. 11, 2012, a Twitter user tweeted-out that famous singer Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel about 20 minutes before the press were briefed.

These are not the only two instances when social media became a source of information for reporters. There are many more.

Social media has not only affected reporting but also bring about new job positions.

Canada’s own broadcasting organization CBC, now has 18 social media editors who only deal with the content that goes up on sites like Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

It’s safe to say that journalists should not be afraid of social media. It should be embraced. It is clear social media has changed journalism for the better, and journalists should change with it or get left behind.


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This is Euvilla Thomas, she is a second year journalism student at Durham College. She writes about a wide range of subjects which includes Campus events, entertainment and educational stories for the Chronicle. She loves reading and writing short stories in her spare time. She hopes to cover news and music events at any broadcasting radio station. Currently she is writing for the Chronicle and producing short segments for the Chronicle Riot Radio show.