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Is the Internet really improving journalism? Well, maybe not completely – but it sure is a huge improvement! The Internet has been touted as the death of journalism. Once upon a time, a great journalist had to be based in the traditional town paper – or newspaper publisher – with a staff of reporters and editors covering every aspect of his or her beats. But now, with websites such as Google Places, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr, a reporter can cover anything from a local event to the latest big story in Hollywood, without having to move to the city in which the event is taking place.

How Is Journalism Being Affected?

So how does this affect the profession of journalism? Well, for one thing, there are fewer journalists, and those that are left often do not have the kind of access that they had even just a few short years ago. In fact, many newspapers and magazines have been forced to hire reporters and editors from outside the company, or hire bloggers to provide the news in their stead. As well, journalists are finding themselves in a double-fisted attack on digital media as well: editors are also looking for new ways to cut costs by slashing costs for reporting, while journalists are looking for new ways to cut costs for producing the news. The result is a dilemma for everyone involved: traditional media and digital media, the Internet and traditional media.

The first part of the dilemma is that journalists are no longer specializing in one specific beat of reporting. Sure, there are still plenty of beat reporters covering cities, sports, technology, and politics – but there are no longer any “one-size-fits-all” reporters covering everything. Instead, many reporters have adopted the approach of specializing in one specific niche – think of magazines, books, or small businesses. While some journalists feel that this makes them obsolete, others see it as a way to get new audiences interested in their work. After all, if you’re only writing about a specific type of business, how can you possibly write an informative piece on social media?

Specialisms And Areas Of Training

The other part of this dilemma is the lack of specific training for many journalists. Those who graduated with journalism degrees in the days of wire services and television stations may not be equipped to handle the technical aspects of Internet stories – they’ve already spent their time dealing with the visual and they need to move onto something else. In contrast, many emerging journalists don’t have any previous experience in computer technology. Even those who have worked in the newsroom have never handled the social media aspect of it: their desk jobs include phone calls and emails, not blogging and reading e-mails.

In order to make up for the lack of specialization, many newsrooms have decided to go to the cutting edge of their field. They have hired freelance journalists who can be called upon to take the job of “social media editor” and explain why an advertisement is as successful as it is. This way, the newsroom has one person who understands the online audience – the people who are glued to their computers watching YouTube, keeping up to date on Twitter, checking in at blogger comments – and another who understands how to get that audience to click through to the advertiser’s website. For small publications, this may seem like an impossible task: but for a metropolitan newspaper such as the New York Times, it’s one that few are able to do.


This is one problem that newspapers face: when you hire a freelancer reporter, you are opening up the field of possible employment to all sorts of people who probably wouldn’t have qualified to work within traditional media outlets. It’s not that these journalists don’t have the requisite skill set; they have. It’s that they haven’t harnessed it to the extent that the New York Times has. In other words, when you hire an Internet journalist to handle your social media stories, you’re hiring a seasoned specialist who has worked in television and newspapers. The result is better specialized content for your story: and more eyeballs on your website. As a result, your company’s social media efforts will be seen by an unprecedented number of people.