Home > Uncategorized > Does Social Media Encourage Quality Journalism?

Does Social Media Encourage Quality Journalism?

Earlier today I was browsing around Mashable and I came across an article, written by Vadim Lavrusik, which immediately got my attention.  The headline read: “Why Social Media Reinvigorates the Market for Quality Journalism” (the article can be accessed here).

The article discusses, among other things, the ways in which social media are acting as a “content filter” for online material, particularly news content.

As a journalism student, I’m always unsure about the long-term effects social media will have on the field of journalism.  Like anything, there will inevitably be pros and cons.  I usually tend to think that the exponential increase in online content, coupled with the growth of social media, will have more of a negative effect than a positive one.  After reading the article, however, many important points I overlooked were brought to my attention.

Lavrusik explains that, while there are increases in “fluff” or gossip stories every day, social media helps filter this content while helping boost readership for more reliable sources.  Sure,  I may log on to my computer and click on an article about my favorite celebrity or recent scandal, but the content I will actually go out of my way to “like” or share on my social media outlets will be quality, relevant material.

This trend is becoming more and more prevalent in the digital world.  The data cited in Lavrusik article examines the sharing of online content from “The Daily”, an iPad application which publishes material daily on a wide variety of topics.  More specifically,  the data measured what types of stories were most likely to be shared via Twitter.  Out of the seven sections offered in “The Daily” (News, Business, Gossip, Opinion, Arts & Life, Apps & Games and Sports) news stories were tweeted the greatest number of times.  Actually, news stories accounted for over half of all in-app tweets (followed by Opinion stories, which only accounted for about 12%).

In his article, Lavrusik explains why this trend makes sense.  A person may be more likely to browse for and read gossip stories and “fluff” pieces, but he or she is much more likely to share more quality news stories in order to shape the digital world’s perception of them and to pass along stories which they feel are important.

By “liking” or tweeting something,  not only am I showing my followers what’s important to me, but I’m giving my approval of a given story to the original publisher.  Moreover, if I see that a community of my “digital peers” gives its stamp of approval of something, I’m much more likely to read it and take it into consideration.  One of my professors once told me that nothing is more powerful or influential than word of mouth advertising.  With mass amounts of online content being published daily,  it becomes increasingly important to be able to navigate one’s way to quality information.

 

Sources:

Lavrusik, Vadim; “Why Social Media Reinvigorates…”

Nieman Journalism Lab, Study on “The Daily”

 

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