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Briyahna Rice
Noodle Expert Member

April 16, 2020

A dive into the world and transition of traditional and internet journalism for journalism students.

Today, journalism students are taught the ins and outs of how traditional journalism and reporting were done long before cellphones and the internet came along. But once they came to pass, journalism as a whole had to change and adapt to keep up with the times. However, with that adaption came a lot of changes that pose contradictions between traditional and internet journalism.

To start, internet journalism allows people to pick and chose what kind of news they'd rather consume on a daily basis; no different than choosing what to have for lunch, or what outfit to wear outside. Nowadays, they'd rather listen to news that's popular, trending, and considered clickbait , rather than news that's important or impactful. Social media also plays a part in this selective news cycle by installing cookies in people's phones and computers. Cookies that collect data based on recent searches and will recommend specific articles and posts based on said searches. This way, people can pick and choose what kind of news and information they want on their timelines. This poses a problem for traditional news websites that cover a whole spectrum of coverage from breaking news, to fluff stories, and brings about the possibility of losing readership. According to an online article from the Columbia Journalism Review on the kind of news that people want, only about a quarter of the American public finds the news compelling on a regular basis. Even with the major changes being made to the news "menu" , the American audience has moved onto a softer diet of news consumption.

In a like manner, Clickbait is another issue that is running rampant with the rise of internet journalism. The basic concept behind it is that fake new stories are generated with the intent of bringing in a bigger readership and more money from ad revenue. As said by RebelMouse worker, Jake Beckman, who also runs a Twitter account called @SavedYouAClick, "the reader is always being manipulated" and "the reader is being treated as stupid" due to the extreme amount of insidious clickbait circulating the internet. Insidious in the sense that clickbait often includes clever headlines and questioning Tweets that often and always lead to disappointing content.

Similarly, the concepts of news, information, and journalism have also been misconstrued with the rise of internet journalism. While many people may see them as one in the same, they aren't. All three of them have different points and ways of being used. To start, information is raw material that is molded into news. It gives details about events as they unfold and used to come strictly from trusted news organizations. But now with the age of smartphones, and websites like Twitter and Facebook, it can come from more than one source. Often times, people will check their Facebook and Twitter feeds for news before turning to legitimate news websites. Information, even misinformation that is unchecked and unverified, has more or less become a commodity that anyone can get their hands on.

However, the traditional journalistic process that's been established allows for information to be molded and transformed into coherent news. Part of that molding process is deciding on the timeliness, novelty/ emotions, prominence, proximity, currency, and impact of the information by journalists who can properly evaluate it. Timeliness comes with the tyranny of a deadline and calls for immediacy. for a story to be completed and published. Novelty and emotions are meant to tap into the human interest and don't have the constraint of a deadline. Likewise, prominence speaks volume when a celebrity, athlete, or politician gets coverage by virtue of their position or status Proximity focuses on the geographical aspect of a story, how close something happened, and where specifically. Currency is based on the aspect of whether or not something is an ongoing issue, or an ongoing series. Finally, Impact has to do specifically with the effect information has on the public and the overall interest in the story.

In conclusion, journalism like many things in this world, is constantly shifting, changing, and being challenged by the times that we live in. But the important thing is that this current and future crop of journalism students, and future reporters are able to spot and call out the differences when they arise for the betterment of both print and broadcast journalism.

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