For the journalist of today, the deadline is no longer at four in the afternoon, it is always now.
Having been given the opportunity to be a part of the social media division as an intern of a news channel during the national elections two years ago, I experienced how the online medium has transformed newsgathering and reporting. My mentors would be watching live broadcasts and simultaneously tweeting relevant information, uploading videos of news footages, checking readers’ feedback via a couple of social networking sites and verifying “tips” from online news sources. It would also be understandable if they were wary of competitors beating them by a few minutes in breaking big stories.
Online journalism is paving the way for accessible, cheap and prompt news reports. Amidst the popularity of free-for-all unlimited online content however, is the increased triviality of news. Although unburdened by traditional newsprint space and cost constraints, journalists must now manage to stay on top of the flood of information threatening to drown online readers and their short attention span. He/She is expected to be catchy, concise and creative – often at 140 characters at a time – as online journalism gears towards multimedia and interactivity across platforms – usually a website, a facebook page, a twitter account and perhaps a tumblr page, too. Increased citizen participation and feedback means that media is being kept in check but may also pose challenges in data verification and abiding by newsgathering ethics (e.g. videos, pictures and “tips” from citizen reporters).