Shift in journalism and citizen reporting

By ABIGAIL L. GARNER

As graduation nears and I scour the job market, it has become apparent to me that there is a big shift in journalism. It seems that since there are becoming more ways for citizens to become reporters themselves, the field of journalism is really searching for innovative thinkers and news producers.

CNN now has an entire tab on its Web site for what is called iReport. This is citizen-type journalism where everyday people can write in, share photos and videos, and tell the news in their areas. Of course, this is edited by the CNN team, but still it is one less job for a writer.

Or there are now blogs like this one. Everyone and their mother seems to have a blog nowadays. So reporting is even more specialized in blogs often then it is from actual news sources. For example, why would I want to check ESPN.com to find out about Alabama football? I would have to sift through all the other sports they report on. Instead, I could check out a local blog such as Bama Beat and get very specific reporting.

Beat writers are needed less and less as well because citizens can write in to web pages, e-mail news stations, or comment on stories to help break news. Reporters don’t even need to work as hard anymore to find news stories.

Because of this shift in journalism and the surge of citizen journalism the question becomes how can I use my print journalism degree in this job market. The surge in citizen reporters in not quite as bad because the need for good editors has increased. With magazines and newspapers using more freelancers and occasional writers than having a staff, the editors have to work harder to make sure that the quality of reporting is good.

Also, as we sit in a class talking about the Internet, technology is constantly playing a bigger role in journalism. News organizations are competing to have the most creative platform for informing their audience. So if you can take your journalistic skills and apply them to these new technologies and help companies to think outside of the box there is still a spot for you in the exceedingly competitive journalistic world.

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