The importance of social media in journalism

Until I was well into my first term at university, I thought that Facebook was simply a distraction and an unwelcome form of procrastination. The same goes with Twitter – I only seemed to use it as a method for stalking a celebrity’s every move.

Fast forward a few months and I have no fewer than four email accounts set up in my mailbox, which I have to check 24/7 in fear of missing something important. I regularly trawl through Facebook pages of posts from students commenting on university issues, events of things happening on campus and typical squabbles on the Spotted page, ensuring I haven’t missed the next big news story.

And if something needs to be discussed or organised quickly within my news team, the person in question is only a typed message away – who needs meetings these days when you have Facebook? Finding people you need to talk to about an article becomes easier than anything, particularly if you have an advanced qualification in Facebook stalking which most teenagers seem to nowadays.

Twitter is great for promoting your stories, increasing hits and raising awareness of your work. University gossip spreads like wildfire on the website and people who have more information on the subject can quickly add to your story. Furthermore, if people have heard of new stories or rumours, they can easily contact you on either of the social networking sites to tell you what’s happening. Twitter can also be great just to enhance your knowledge of current affairs: if you follow the news sites, you’ll get the latest national breaking news within seconds of it happening.

And then there’s blogs, forums and writing portfolios: there are just so many ways now to get involved with journalism online, and I think it just proves how the media, despite moving away from print, is expanding in other ways. Modern journalism now demands that you can work with multimedia – social media, radio, print, websites and more – and the young generation of today certainly has a major advantage. Having a social media presence is so important for the aspiring journalists of today, mainly so they can keep in the loop, and also so they can jump at the opportunities that are presented to them.

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