- DAVID K. YEVUGAH
- AGBEDOR AGBESI GODWIN
- RICHARD GYASI
- COMMEY BENJAMIN ADAMEFIO
- TIMOTHY TAYABNYI NGNENBE
How do the activities of citizen journalism affect the business of traditional journalism and what strategies are they putting in place to meet up with new media?
The question requires us to look at the concepts of social media and citizen journalism and the impact it has had, it’s having and would have on news produced by the traditional media organizations. We are further required by the question to outline strategies these traditional media have adopted, are adopting and should resort to in order not to cede its power as a fourth estate in government.
Traditional media refers to the old types of media which have existed since before the advent of the new medium of the internet. This kind of media includes cable tv, radio, movie and music studios, newspapers, magazines and books.
Social media by definition is a form of electronic medium that is meant to facilitate interaction based on people’s interest and unique characteristics. It is a new paradigm that creates a platform for people to discover, read and share news, information’s and messages in an interactive manner. Some forms of social media are Facebook, twitter, blog, whatsapp, Linkedin and many others.
Citizen journalism on the other hand, can be seen as members of the public who play an active role in the collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating of news and information. Based on the role they play, they are sometimes called stand alone journalism, street journalism, distributed journalism and networked journalism.
EFFECTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND CITIZEN JOURNALISM ON TRADITIONAL MEDIA
Before the advent of social media, news production and dissemination was done in top-down fashion with traditional media playing the gate keeping role. The audience were gullible and less interactive [passive]. The traditional media organizations operate in well constituted bodies and have their editorial policies and management systems. The advent of this trend of news production gave rise to citizen journalism; ordinary people who hitherto were passive audience have virtually warmed themselves into the business of generating news. The result is that the gate keeping role of traditional media is under siege. Previously, users used to be readers, viewers and listeners but now the concept of users has gone beyond to encompass news producers. This has become possible due to technological advancement. The availability of mobile devices that can record pictures, videos and have constant internet connection, combined with growing popularity of social networking sites has actually made it possible for people to produce and share news. This is therefore posing some kind of threat to the traditional media.
One major effect that the social media have on the traditional media is low patronage of traditional media contents. As a result of the advent of social media, the patronage of traditional media contents. This is because news from these traditional news media turn to be old by the time they are broadcasted or published due to the long process they go through in processing these news as compared to the social media which enables a news to broadcasted or published instantly, thereby making people to rely on the social media for news.
Another effect of the social media on the traditional media is advertising opportunities for the legacy media. Traditional media mostly strive on advertising to generate income to keep them in business. However, since people have resorted to social media as their main news source, most advertising companies 0r agencies have resorted to advertising in these social media, hence less adverts end up in these traditional media, thereby making it difficult to raise enough income to remain in business.
Democratization of information or news has become possible thanks to social media. In the traditional news media, the production and dissemination of information and news was in the form of top-down. However, social media have made it possible for those who used to be consumers [audiences] of this news from the traditional media are now producers of various news, hence, the down-top approach.
Furthermore, the social media has brought about media convergence which is non-existent in the traditional media. Due to this, many audiences are able to access different kinds of news at the same time at a particular site. Audiences of the traditional media however have to wait for their segment of the news to be broadcasted before they are able to get the information they are looking for.
Other effects of the social media on the traditional media include; the digital divide of the social media, quick feedback, reduction of actual job for professional journalists and simultaneity of information sharing.
In the midst of this giant strides social media is making in the new paradigm, the traditional news media have adopted several strategies to contain the threats these social media and citizen journalists pose. Among these strategies include;
Most of the traditional news media have incorporated social media into their news production and dissemination. That is, they have gone online. Examples of such traditional news media are ; citifmonline.com. peacefmonline.com and myjoyonline.com.
Furthermore, most of these traditional news media have also created social media pages such as facebook, twitter that enable them to interact with their listeners and viewers. Examples of such media are citi fm, tv3,radio xyz, etc.
Moreover, due to the digitalized nature of the social media, most traditional news media have digitalized in order to counter the threats this social media pose to them. Example of such news media is tv3.
FUTURE STRATEGIES TRADITIONAL MEDIA NEED TO ADOPT
Despite the improvement made or strategies adopted by the traditional media to remain relevant in the system inspite of the threats from the social media, more needs to be done by these traditional news media to still remain useful.
One strategy that the traditional ought to adopt is to target its core audience and produce news that will satisfy them. There is the need to rebrand and repackage their products to improve on quality and attractiveness.
Traditional media will have to digitalize in all aspect of news production and dissemination if it is to remain relevant in these technological advancing society.
Since citizen journalists report news just as they see them, traditional news media should do more than just also reporting the news. In other words, the traditional media need to give indepth reports on issues.
The concepts of social media and citizen have come to stay. Traditional media should therefore strategically position themselves so as to be able to survive now and in the future.
1. Lev Manovich “The Language of New Media”
2. Bailey Socha and Barbara Eber-Schmid “WHAT IS NEW MEDIA? Defining New Media Isn’t Easy”