At one time, journalism jobs were the domain of print media and television and radio. Times change and those changes mean that journalism now exists squarely in the realm of media studies. The two have become interchangeable.
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In the beginning, journalism was restricted to the written word. Newspapers were the order of the day and people were kept abreast of current affairs solely through those written words. Journalists themselves were viewed favorably by the population at large. Today, however, journalists are lumped into the same category of “least respected professions” as advertisers, according to an article in The Guardian, reporting on a poll conducted by the BBC. By using media studies to identify and change public perception of journalists, it is possible to elevate journalists to the higher level of respect they once enjoyed.
Yesterday’s journalism students focused their attention on simply getting the story. Today’s journalism students find themselves caught up in the world of media studies. This entails learning new technology in order to find the best possible way to bring a story to the public. As technology has evolved to find new methods of getting a story to the public, journalism and media studies students have changed their approach to gathering and disseminating the news.
One important way that journalism and media studies students share the same pedigree is by engaging with their audience. At one time, journalists maintained a distance from their readership. Due to economic factors such as advertising, journalists now engage with their readers via a variety of social media platforms. This engagement is enhanced by going through media studies courses to learn precisely how to maintain contact with the readership while not crossing any professional boundaries.
The tightrope that journalists now walk can be seen in such venues as The New York Times having to disseminate Social Media Guidelines for the Newsroom, emphasizing journalists need to keep from putting out partisan viewpoints. If readers feel journalists have an agenda, they might be inclined to distrust the reporting taking place. This leads the journalists and media studies students to balance themselves between being objective in their reporting while also maintaining a connection with their readers on a personal level.
There can be little doubt that technology has vastly changed the way journalists and media studies students get their messages out to the public. At one time, journalists were armed only with their notepads and the occasional photographer to accompany them. Today, journalists have smartphones that have the ability to act as portable newsrooms right in their pocket. Keeping abreast of current technology is very important to today’s journalist. More and more often, journalists find themselves putting out a story on their own. This is due to the public’s desire to “stay informed.” Old school journalists had to go through their editors and publishers before putting something out for the public. Today, they simply use their technology to get the story out before any of their competitors.
Journalism jobs have gone through a great many changes in recent years and are continuing to change. By focusing upon combining the right mindset with the right technological tools, journalists are able to bring stories to the public in ways that are both innovative and exciting, while still maintaining the highest of ethical reporting standards.