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Social Media Replacing Traditional Journalism Research Paper


Abstract

Nowadays more people are getting news through social media, such as Facebook, YouTube, BuzzFeed, and fewer people buy printed newspapers. This research shows that due to the development in the digital world, the majority of people tend to refer to their devices when searching for news instead of buying a printed source and that social media is replacing traditional journalism. According to the information gained from the literature review and interviews, social media is used much more often than printed newspapers; the news discussed online is perceived as trustworthy, and people appreciate the opportunity to get news much quicker on social media.

How Social Media is Replacing Traditional Journalism

Introduction

The world is changing rapidly and today we are already living in the age when information plays an extremely important role in the lives of individuals. Moreover, due to the development in the digital world, the majority of people tend to refer to their devices when searching for news instead of buying a printed source.

According to the research results that can be found on Schools.com, social media becomes a more and more preferable source of information. They tend to replace traditional journalism so that more than 45% of Americans refer to their mobile phones when they are looking for local news (Bennett par. 1). Still, the controller of digital and technology for BBC Global News has another view on this situation. He claims that social media just tends to complement traditional sources of information, proving a simple access to the wide range of news, including those not mentioned by others (Kohli-Khandekar par. 8). However, as the tendency to refer to social media increases, there is a huge possibility that soon it will replace traditional journalism.

Hypothesis One – People are increasingly relying on social media to get news rather than buying traditional printed newspaper

People are constantly willing to develop and, as a result, they give preference to the innovative sources of information, forgetting about the old ones. Having a desire to be up-to-date, the general public, utilize emerging devices and the opportunities they provide them with. A traditional printed newspaper is a thing that exists for many years already, so now it has nothing to surprise the readers. Social media, on the other hand, appeared not long ago and is still developing. They are frequently updated and have low entering barriers. Social media allow the readers to be closer to the journalists and give them a chance to communicate and receive their feedback.

Hypothesis Two – People think that news from social media is more trustworthy than news from traditional printed newspaper

From the very beginning, social media were seen as the platform for communication. Using them, individuals exchanged different information without a particular desire to spread the news. They were honest in their statements and shared their vision. The approach is thought to be the same today even though the news got on a higher level. Traditional journalism was always filtered. The information it presents is checked by several individuals and corrected so that the final product occurs to be perceived as an adjusted version of the real events. People tend to trust those who are showing their emotions and beliefs directly, so they consider social media to be more reliable than a printed newspaper.

Hypothesis Three – People tend to be able to get news much quicker on social media than traditional journalism

When referring to traditional journalism, individuals have an opportunity to receive a limited range of information in a particular period. Moreover, they often need to go somewhere to buy it, which means that lots of time should be spent just to get the source of news. There is no similar problem when social media are used. Everyone has a digital device at hand today, so there are no restrictions related to the location or amount of information. A person can find everything one wants in a minute and read as much as wishes regardless of the limitations of the printed source. Moreover, if an individual wants to compare how the same event is described by different journalists, one does not need to buy numerous newspapers. Social media allow everybody to find a range of works related to a particular topic in no time. Except for that, digital devices provide an opportunity to find the keywords in the text of the article, which streamlines the process even more (Wilwayco par. 24).

Literature Review

Social Media

It was always critical for people to know what is happening in the whole world and their home city, in particular, as this information gives a chance to plan one’s life and deepen into various spheres. The era of the traditional journalism appeared in the 17th century but started to flourish at the end of the 20th century when it attracted people to the newspapers and magazines. Some of them are considered to be prominent even today (The New York Times, for example) and are targeted at the delivery of the confirmed news to the population. But as the communication started to use social media and became digital, this approach changed.

Journalism turned into a platform that the users refer to when they want to add some content. For new journalism, where all people have a voice, it is more important to be the first to speak up and to attract more attention to the article (Conde 3). The Internet provided an opportunity to write the news just after the event has happened so that the 24-hour cycle occurred, and the necessity to wait for the printed version for several days disappeared. Even though this information tends to be biased by the attitudes of the person who wrote it, people prefer to use social media.

The individuals shared their comments regarding particular points when social media became popular. Today they are doing the same but use some of the best practices of the traditional journalism for the news to look and be more authoritative. Even though some individuals tend to question the accuracy of the information provided in the social media, the majority of people tend to compare different online sources instead of referring to one printed. As a result, 25% of the population refers to social media when they are searching for news. Moreover, the social network audience also increases due to the creation of networks for different professionals, which also affects the preferences in news sources (Alejandro16).

Hypothesis One – People are increasingly relying on social media to get news rather than buying traditional printed newspaper

Constant development and innovations in different spheres influenced the world of journalism, as they provided more sources of information that can be used by the general public. The time when the printed publication was the only thing that performed the news has already passed. Today, people from all over the world have an opportunity to watch TV, listen to the radio, etc. The recent research showed that “59.5% of the population refers to TV news, 28.8% to newspapers, 27.8% to social media, 18.8% to radio news, 9.5% to other non-printed sources and 6% to other print publications” (Bennet par. 6).

Of course, it can be seen that for now newspapers are used more often than social media, but it should be considered that the existence of these sources differs in several centuries, which proves that traditional journalism had much more time to gather its audience. The fact that social media has already almost got up to it means that the take-over is on the horizon. While social media were considered to be the platform for youth from the very beginning, many adults start to refer to them now. Except for that the frequency with which the public search for news online is much higher. Even journalists claim that they cannot imagine their work without social media (McHugh 8). Thus, since more people are using social media to get news, they are replacing traditional journalism.

Hypothesis Two – People think that news from social media is more trustworthy than news from traditional printed newspaper

The news that can be found in the traditional printed newspapers is always addicted and filtered, which tends to dissatisfy the population due to the frequent political dissidence. People realize it and tend to question everything they read. Still, the data that is presented online faces fewer filters. Social media allow speaking up and sharing ideas without such limitations. Journalists claim that they feel “less bound by journalistic rules and more willing to share their personal opinions than in traditional media outlets” (McHugh par. 6). Except for that, many of them, as well as consumers, believe that social media is more reliable than traditional sources. The public finds the ability to communicate with the authors of the articles critical, as it makes them closer to each other. They can not only find out who wrote this or that statement but also ask questions and receive the proofs of why the data is authoritative.

Many pieces of news found on social media are written by the eyewitnesses. Using their smartphones, people gather the information that is not accessible to journalists with cameras, which is one more reason why the public trusts unofficial sources (Bennet par. 9).

Hypothesis Three – People tend to be able to get news much quicker on social media than traditional journalism

The access to the sources of information is also extremely important when discussing their dominance. Traditional journalism prefers printed sources, such as newspapers and magazines. To add the information to them, journalists need to spend lots of time investigating the event, writing the article and checking it. They should wait for others to complete their works and then for the newspaper to be printed and spread. Thus, the consumers have no opportunity to receive the news immediately. Everything works the other way when the news appears on social media. Such sites as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and BuzzFeed, etc. provide an opportunity to post the information in no time and do not require any complicated procedures to be managed. The journalists even mention that they publish the news and only then edit them (McHugh par. 8). Of course, it might mean that the information occurs to be less accurate, but it can be checked in a few minutes.

Research Method

To support the hypotheses and prove that social media are replacing traditional journalism, the survey was conducted. The university students were interviewed regarding the issue. The participation was voluntary and anonymous. The responses were both quantitative and qualitative. They were gathered and analyzed after the interviews.

The sample included 17 university students (10 females and 7 males) 20-23 years old. The participants were informed about the topic of the research and the way it would be conducted. Those who wanted to share their opinion were asked to answer several questions so that each interview lasted for 10-15 minutes. Elaborative questions were sometimes asked to gather more accurate information.

Presentation and Discussion of Data

Hypothesis One – People are increasingly relying on social media to get news rather than buying traditional printed newspaper

The first section of the questions was designed to find out whether the population tends to refer to social media instead of using original printed sources of information.

It turned out that all the interviewees used social media as the source of news at least ones while 12% claim that they had never referred to the printed newspaper when they wanted to receive a piece of news. 64% prefer to use Facebook because it operates for a rather long time already and many official facilities have accounts on it. The rest of the participants refer mainly to Twitter and YouTube. 88% say that their relatives who previously used only newspapers and magazines started to search for news online. 58% report that they started to read the pieces of news more often because the amount of them, appearing on social media, increases even though they remain easily accessible. Such results prove that the networks are widely spread today and that they tend to substitute traditional journalism.

Hypothesis Two – People think that news from social media is more trustworthy than news from traditional printed newspaper

All interviewees support the opinion that the information presented by journalists cannot be taken for granted. 88% believe that it is better to refer to social media, as inaccurate articles are often entailed by the readers’ comments that underline this issue, which cannot be said about the printed sources. 76% found it advantageous that the news can be edited with time, as more decent data can be added. Only 23% claim that amateur reporters ruin a positive performance of social media. 12% say that it is better to use printed sources because their information is more trustworthy while others prefer to recheck the information gained online or just to believe what is written. So the inaccuracy of social media is not considered to be a problem, conversely, people have trust in them.

Hypothesis Three – People tend to be able to get news much quicker on social media than traditional journalism

100% of participants are sure that the news can be gained much quicker when social media is used. 47% even believe this fact to be the main advantage of social media as a source of news. 71% say that traditional journalism presents the information when it is already familiar to the majority of the population so that there is no necessity to buy a newspaper. Moreover, 76% claim that social media is always at hand and the news is adding 24/7, which means that there is always an opportunity to refer to them. Thus, social media wins the race and delivers the news faster.

Conclusion

Today’s society tends to use social media when searching for news instead of referring to traditional journalism. According to the information gained from the literature review, social media is used much more often than printed newspapers, as it can be easily approached. Except for that, the news discussed online is perceived as trustworthy and can be checked. Finally, people prefer to receive the news immediately, which cannot be managed by printed sources. All these facts were also supported by the interview conducted with students, which proves their accuracy. As a result, it can be claimed that social media is replacing traditional journalism.

Works Cited

Alejandro, Jennifer. Journalism in the Age of Social Media 2010. Web.

Bennet, Shea. . 2012. Web.

Conde, Carlos. “The New Journalism and the Demise of the Old.” The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education 24.23 (2014): 3. Print.

Kohli-Khandekar, Vanita. . 2014. Web.

McHugh, Sally. 2015. Web.

Wilwayco, Nick. . 2014. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Social Media Replacing Traditional Journalism." June 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-media-replacing-traditional-journalism/.

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