Cyber Journalism

Cyber Journalism and the Future of New Media

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In my post last month titled, “Internet Writing, has it changed the Face of Journalism?”, we explored some of the major differences between cyber journalism, new media and old print media. And while it’s true that there are still enough people to substantiate the need for printed newspapers and magazines, the world is changing rapidly and technology just keeps growing.

And speaking of the switch from old print media to new media, would you believe that the first Kindle just came out in 2007, and the first Nook in 2009? Forrester Research predicts that over 29.4 million Americans will own an eReader by 2015. If these numbers aren’t an indicator of people’s willingness to drop printed publications, I don’t know what is.

Let’s just say that in today’s society, new technology has paved the way for online journalism to make print media obsolete. Most of your newspapers and magazines are already accessible online—and at a savings compared to print media. So what does that mean for journalists?

Who’s Actually Reporting the News These Days?

Cyber JournalismThe truth of the matter is that the heavy-hitting journalists that work in the newsroom are still doing the reporting. You’ll find them covering every angle of a story. They are the ones that attend the City Council meetings regardless of what happens—and oftentimes not much does. But the work of these print journalists, as well as professional online journalists, can be used by anyone.

And their work is used by almost everyone—including lawyers, politicians, talk show hosts, and, yes, even the amateur blogger. For better or worse, it’s becoming more and more common for these non-professional second-hand sources to get wider online exposure than do the original stories!

So Why Is the Professional Online News Industry Looking Increasingly Gloomy?

It all boils down to money. As much as I love print, where do these publications get their money? Well, from the Wal-Marts and Albertsons of the world. I’m sure that Wal-Mart has no interest in funding the next piece of news on Representative Anthony D. Weiner’s resignation. Why should they?

In the past, businesses had no choice but to fund this kind of fluff, if they wanted to advertise in a print medium that meant anything at all. Not anymore. With the popularization of the World Wide Web, a whole new way of advertising has been birthed. Businesses can now reach the exact consumer demographic with Facebook and AdWords that they once reached with the local paper.

And why shouldn’t they? Intelligently used, online advertising is less expensive and more effective than traditional print advertising (especially newspapers). And big business never really wanted to fund the Weiner investigation anyway.

In my next post, we’ll explore the real issue at hand. Has cyber journalism put the traditional journalist on the endangered species list…

Till next time! Have a great weekend.

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Erin Walsh