I will add that some non-journalists are doing all four of those things pretty well (as they are doing the things on my list). We aren’t unique in doing them, but our commitment to them and our skill at them can create value.
We can be and frequently are eyewitnesses to planned events, but frequently the eyewitnesses to breaking news are the people who happened to be there. Sometimes their tweets, Facebook updates and photos are great and sometimes they provide a partial or inaccurate picture. We need to bring our skills of investigation and verification into play when we are not the eyewitnesses, curating the public reports and adding (as you say) sense and context.]]>
Secondly I have just written a post about photography and Instagram on my own blog and, in passing, the increased number of people passing themselves off as photographers or using technology to vaguely attempt to do what people had previously learned as a trade.
So as with photographers, journalists’ job now is to be better than the rest. If the self-trained, non-funded, working from home blogger can produce good work then the professional has to show they are capable of being even better.
Another fantastic thing about social media is that it’s showed that we don’t need professionals to give us trashy tabloid news – but people will still pay for the good stuff.
The other point is in their role of aggregators that social media facilitates, journalists have to demonstrate that objectivity. Lying journalists, like cheating MPs or tax dodging companies are going to be found out and challenged far more easily than ever before.]]>
A worry I do have is that as social media becomes more widely used, will the general public be able recognise the distinction between journalism/reportage and spilling one’s guts…? And what will be the consequences of that?]]>