The evolution of Journalism.

One of the most memorable routines of my life has been sitting as a youngster, in front of my father’s newly acquired television, watching the 9`o clock news. The blurry images of a stern-faced newscaster are still etched in my memory. I, like all children at that time, had a heightened curiosity, and the only thing apart from the annoying stern face that bothered me was exactly HOW they did everything.

I tried relating it with David Copperfield’s show that I watched every Thursday but somehow it never made sense. 19 years later, I am sitting here at my table and my gadget selection includes a Canon 550D, Olympus talker and an Iphone. In short – I have all the tools that a Multi-Media Journalist needs.

Rise of ‘Generation-Y’ 

Multi-media or new-age journalism can be credited to the accelerated rise of social media. It is amazing how fast you can get the information via sources like Twitter and Facebook with the minimal involvement of the “traditional” media organization. The last 10 years have turned the tables – it would not be an overstatement to say that, if a journalist from the past came back from retirement and started today, it would take a lot more for him to catch-up with the trade than it would have 2 decades back.

From the Egyptian Democratic uprising, to the marvel at legal super injunctions protecting the private lives of footballers in the UK, social media has expanded and extrapolated the issues surrounding the news by allowing everyone with online access to have their say.

From research to reporting, everything has gone online. Audience interaction is at the highest level ever seen, and blogging and social media has transmitted the power of journalism to the receivers.

Media conglomerates are cutting down staff, and a whole new generation of ‘back-pack’ journalists is entering the trade. These are a generation who is quick and adaptable – a whole new crowd who can shoot, edit, blog, tweet, write and report with minimum sources and in minimum time. The rules of the trade have changed. In-short Generation-Y has taken the world by hurricane.

Listen to ‘us’

News companies today have to focus more on the public than ever. The accelerated growth in the number of bloggers, contributors and social-media users have pushed the News companies to involve the public in order to create innovative journalism.

Whether its CNN`s iReport, BBC World Have Your Say or News agencies like Citizenside, media organizations around the world are now collaborating more and more with citizen journalists.

From newspapers to television and online, the involvement of users is making journalism more reliable and factual. The reach is wider and easier than ever, and the feedback process has turned into dialogue. This dialogue has, in turn, shaped into real-time journalism. The users are now the active sources of the media.

A ‘wake up’ call

The barrier and standard to enter the profession has long gone now. Conventional journalists need to adapt, not only to the new technology, but to understanding the whole new range of audience out there.

Journalists are still getting used to new technology and the process of user interaction. Their work and content is under the highest scrutiny. Long ago, journalists were the watchdogs of our society, but today citizen journalists are the watchdogs of professional journalists.

The last decade has produced a whole new breed of all-in-one journalists. It is this kind of journalist that is in high demand, and that dictate the death of old model of providing news to people. If traditional journalists are to survive today, then they will have to work together with the new-age journalists, for experience to truly meet with innovation, and allow the gate-keepers to turn into guides.