It seems that everywhere you turn there is someone ready to say that something is no longer necessary because another thing has superseded it. Blogs are the most recent target of attack, as the New York Times claims that blogging is a fading medium since younger generations are increasingly turning to Twitter and Facebook http://nyti.ms/eLNTOh. There are always people who are quick to judge. On the other side are the traditionalists who proclaim things like “Twitter Isn’t Journalism” http://buswk.co/eczL7X. Yet, Twitter is what journalists sift through to keep a pulse on news that breaks before they can cover it. Twitter is also a source for people to comment on different subjects and link those comments to existing newspaper articles and blogs about that topic. The same could be said for Facebook. Thus the question arises, are these new forms of journalism a complement or a detriment to journalism? My stance is that there is room for all formats, and that they are all beneficial and dependent on one another. These formats exist in a complementary framework that is enhanced with the addition of each new component. Much like the different parts of a song build upon each other, each form of journalism is a building block that is connected to and strengthened by those above and below it. With a song, the beat by itself is nice and a driving force, but each instrument adds dimension to the beat and the overall song. An instrumental is nice to listen to, but the addition of lyrics adds depth and complements the emotion of the beat and instruments. I think you see where I am going with this. However, lets take a step back here and work our way up from the traditional to the current forms. First of all you have newspapers, or print, spaces where complex events and ideas can be discussed in a framework that is enhanced and strengthened with the addition of quotes and pictures. Additionally you have broadcast journalism, whose advantage is that coverage happens as events occur.
When the Internet arrives, everything goes online. This had to happen in order to reach people where they were. However, this process accomplished more than making print and newscast stories accessible online. It provided a new way to archive these stories and ideas while allowing new features to be added such as additional interviews and the ability to access only the most relevant topics of interest for each individual. The rise of search engines was obviously a major part of this aspect. Next came blogs, which gave not just journalists and business people another voice but ordinary people as well. Blogs often discuss current news events or industry topics, which makes them the online equivalent of more traditional storytelling and journalism methods (i.e. newspapers and broadcast journalism). Blogs support traditional journalism formats by giving them another outlet and format to present their news and stories. With another outlet and format, and another voice, comes a different perspective on the same story. Along comes Facebook and Twitter to give people the ability to express themselves, in a different and more limited format, Facebook in 420 characters and Twitter in 140 characters respectively. Both methods provide quicker and more to the point updates. However with that arises the need to link back to the expanded articles that sparked the comments and opinions they are sharing in order to express a complete thought. Social networking connects and plays upon our natural desire to share stories with others in some sort of conversation. Hence Twitter and Facebook are a benefit to traditional journalism because they promote and spread stories and news through influential people, whose friends and followers refer to the source as the basis for their ongoing conversation. In this way each form of journalism adds dimension and depth, as well as a new perspective, to develop and more fully communicate a news story or idea to a broader range of people. One is not obliterated by the other. Given that, it is not right to proclaim one is better than the other or say that one deserves to be around while another does not. Journalism is a constantly changing medium, and one whose various communication channels do not detract from but are an asset to its practice. Each format deserves to be respected and each format lends its unique voice to the conversation.