The newsroom as it once was: man in a suit, jacket slung on the back of his wooden chair, cigarette smoldering in an ash tray, tattered spiral notebook covered in shorthand, with the click-click-clicking of the typewriter filling the room.
Once this story is off to press, there’s not much else to do, unless there’s a follow-up story to be written. Granted, there’s always a chance that some crotchety reader will write in to the editor to complain, but otherwise, this story will fade into oblivion in a short time as the writer pulls out the typewriter to tell yet another story.
Those days are distant memories. With cheap, available technology comes the ability to document stories on the fly. Connected constantly with a taste for information, readers want more than “just the facts.” They want commentary, they want to weigh in on the subject; they want discussion.
Journalists have changed job duties throughout the ages. In the days of the gladiators, scribes would post an “Acta Diurna,” a sort of public notice and news system carved in stone and posted in a public place. Other than writing the information and carving it into a tablet, these scribe-journalists didn’t have much else to do.
In our age of information, journalists are more than scribes. Today’s news gatherers don’t just write, they journal. With the ability to get more work done, the higher the expectation is for journalists to thrive with expanded job duties such as engaging in social media and responding to readers’ concerns. This isn’t something to complain about, but rather accept it and move on.
Newspapers and journalists are in no position to resist adapting to and utilizing new technologies. In with the new but keep the old. To make it as a journalist and to provide a service customers want, it’s imperative for journalists today to have a presence in the social media sphere.