The list of social media tools could probably run on for paragraphs, and today’s technology changes so rapidly that many industries, including corporations and news media, can barely keep up.
Today’s audiences expect to be able to choose what they read, and most believe they should be able to contribute content and opinions, too.
Simply making information available is not enough for today’s public.
Others, including two authors for the fall 2009 online issue of Nieman Reports, Robert G.
Picard and Richard Gordon, and Chris Martin of Chris Martin Public Relations, also expressed social media can help journalists do their jobs more effectively.
However, this report will attempt to explain what has occurred and hypothesize on what the future holds for a world containing independent journalism and social media tools.
The research gathered for this report can be grouped into four categories: the current state of traditional and social media; popular social media tools and how media use them; ethical issues surrounding journalists’ use of social media tools; and how a two-way, conversationally driven world will change journalism.
Going a step beyond simply being online, media organizations have begun to consider how news organizations use social media tools to keep their audiences and, most importantly, to keep bringing in funds to support themselves.
Myriad opinions and ideas on the topic exist on social media’s presence in the journalism world; the volume of information can seem overwhelming.
The report is broken into subtopics: a summary of the current state of traditional media; definitions and background information on what social media and social journalism are; social media tools professionals use and why; current event case studies in which social media played a role in reporting the news; ethical issues surrounding the social media shift; and how the future of the news media might look as a result of social media.
The report will respond to one simple, yet rather complex, question: What impact has social media had on news organizations?