How has social media changed the world of journalism? This already is and will continue to be the title of many essays written by students studying media related courses. The question is an obvious but very important one; the question goes beyond the subject of ‘media studies’ and into the realm of sociology and politics.
Being a leader in journalism, the BBC has organised a Social Media Summit, the goal of the summit is to bring the industry leaders together to figure out in the direction social journalism will take in the future. Social media has had a radically changing affects on journalism; most notably in the speed at which news is broadcasted giving rise to ‘real-time’ threads and the way private lives are merged with professional practice.
The old guard of journalism represented by the BBC, Guardian, Al-jazeera, NPR and The Washington Post will hold an open forum discussion on Friday to bash out a debate regarding these issues. Other top issues on the agenda is the problem of verification in the new world of social journalism “how can we be sure what is said is true?”, and the new journalistic role of community engagement.
Peter Horrocks, BBC head of Global News, made the point that in the world of social journalism discretion is no longer important. There are calls for training and education for this new raft of social journalists, but in a way the beauty of social journalism is its raw unaltered quality. All newspapers have their bias, some more than others, but it is standard to think about newspapers in terms of left, right and liberal. The point of social journalism is that it allows anybody to give their opinion and their ‘truth’, it is now at the hands of the reader to be extra cautionary in what they believe and what ‘truths’ they choose to perpetuate. Training and education sounds more like, ‘control the masses’.
Anyway, the forum takes place this Friday between 9:30am – 4:00pm at BBC White City, London W12 7TS – should be very interesting.