Path Home Shows 2011 Show Archive March 2011 Show 1112 Journalism Impact

Journalism Impact

Social media may not be the death of journalism as we've always known it, but rather a movement that emphasizes some of journalism's key factors like transparency, honesty, and giving a voice to the person who doesn’t have one.
Journalism Impact

News reporter

For more information visit these links:

Oklahoma State University, School of Media and Strategic Communications
140 Character Conference

Show Dates

Show 1112: Journalism Impact

Air date: March 20, 2011



Courtenay DeHoff:  Social media may not be the death of journalism as we’ve always known it; but rather a movement that emphasizes some of journalism's key factors like transparency, honesty, and giving a voice to the person who doesn’t have one.  Andy Barth explains.

Andy Barth:  Gone are the days in journalism, when a single person like a Walter Cronkite is the definitive voice to a nation.  Thanks to cell phone cameras and the Internet, today’s technology gives everyone a chance to tell their own story.  It's a communication revolution, where everyone is connected, but no one is in charge.

[sound of a cell phone ringing]

From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Skype, social media has taken journalism education in a new direction.

Dr. Derina Holtzhausen:  It has changed a lot in the sense that this is a totally new dimension of what our students need to be aware of.

Andy:  Dr. Derina Holtzhausen is the Director of Oklahoma State University’s School of Media and Strategic Communications.

Holtzhausen:  In the past, news reporters had to go out, get the news, come back, report on it the next day.  Now there is hardly any news any longer, everything is out there immediately through the social media.

Andy:  And with this shift in the journalism industry, the university thought it necessary to change the department’s name from the School of Journalism and Broadcasting, to the School of Media and Strategic Communications.

Holtzhausen:  We needed to make sure that our name reflects what we’re doing here and what degrees, what kind of degrees our students get; but also to give them space to develop.  Because so many students who, for instance, take journalism doesn’t necessarily remain in journalism; but they come, become experts in media.

Andy:  According to Holtzhausen, being an expert in media takes more than being a good writer or photographer.

Holtzhausen:  Journalists need to become entrepreneurs.  They need to find a, a, find a niche for their expertise.

Andy:  But with all things new, come down falls.

Holtzhausen:  I think the one thing that we do realize is that we cannot teach technology; we can never adequately teach technology, because you, what is relevant this semester is no longer relevant next semester.  I mean, it’s just tremendous how it’s changing.  So what we need to make our students comfortable with is technology.

Andy:  And although they’re in the business of teaching students, Holtzhausen says they can’t keep up with these new trends.

Holtzhausen:  It is the people on the street are becoming, they, they have much more freedom to bypass the gatekeepers and deliver their messages directly.

Andy:  And technology has allowed anyone with a cell phone to become a journalist.

Chris Brogan:  The Iran problems of last year, the whole protest thing, came out more through things like Twitter, because we saw on-the-ground reporting that didn’t go through filters and it just was directed from people to us.  So I think there’s a lot of opportunity like that.

Andy:  Social media guru, Chris Brogan.

Chris:  So I have this theory that I call first news, second news, and I think that we’re starting to cue to, and, and more so the teens to the twenties get it faster than we do, that we might hear Michael Jackson’s dead and that’s first news.  But until it’s in People or CNN, then it’s not news, right?  So there’s first news that we, we collect on and then there’s second news where we verify and we know it’s something real.

Andy:  Which is where the opportunity lies, for the journalists of tomorrow.

Holtzhausen:  I think the big thing for them will be to lead and not to follow.  They need to be the entrepreneurs and not necessarily allow others to define for them where the field is going, but rather be on the forefront of deciding how this is going to work out in the future.

Andy:  And with everyone now a producer of the news, many fear that blogger-based media will distort the news, and journalism will become more erratic.  Making it all the more important that as news consumers we educate ourselves.