From Facebook to Instagram to Twitter to Snapchat and beyond, mobile and social media journalism have changed many aspects of news including the rate of distribution, scope, and of course, the method of delivery. Today, almost anyone can become a journalist with access to a computer and/or cell phone. Although there are many levels of newsmaking in a formal setting, such as narrowing topics, editing material, and designing print layouts, with this new era, it doesn’t take nearly as much.
According to Pew Research, “Roughly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults use the site (Facebook), and half of those users get news there — amounting to 30% of the general population.” In regards to college students, “nearly all ... reported being on Facebook, 88 percent.”
In an age when almost the whole world is connected and everyone is glued to the screens of their mobile device, the largest positive aspect of mobile journalism is that anyone can view an online material. Just as it can be viewed, it can also be rapidly sent through text messages and grouping apps. In an instant, one creator’s article can reach millions of cell-phone users in contrast to times past when it would take an entire week to publish stories hot off the press. Economic summaries, political updates, and popular news alerts can be read and shared without the wait. All it requires is a click of a link. Just as the speed of circulation is incredibly fast, that same speed is required when thinking of new stories, but sometimes, this speed can lead to a number of negatives.
The number one negative aspect in regards to social media and mobile journalism is the existence of fake news. With President Donald Trump’s accusations of its impact on the political arena, it is clear that fake news can cause much journalism to be questioned. As mentioned before, anyone can now be a journalist and write from whatever perspective and include whatever facts they choose. Nothing new has to be created for each platform either. The same story can be transferred from platform to platform. With formal journalism, the probability of publishing false information is slim to none because of the many restraints as it pertains to the writer’s credibility and the reputation of the news source. In this area, the values of news like
are taken into consideration.
It can be agreed that there is no end in sight for mobile and social media journalism. In fact, with the daily creation of new streaming apps, it may not even be at its peak. With so many different age groups relying on it for facts and information, it can be a dangerous thing to imagine. But, for the most part, government regulations can easily alter this reach. Will government surveillance be the solution to fake news or would it create more issues? For journalists and non-journalists today, it is of utmost importance to build an eye for news and a judgment for truth.