Newsgathering Practices And The Changing Nature Of The Internet
News, n. an impartial account of current affairs regarding the current happenings of some period of time. This is, essentially, the news as presented in the shape of concise summaries, headlines, reviews, and other such written content. The news is often regarded as synonymous with topical news. Such news items are news items that have international interest – items reporting on events happening in other countries apart from the United States. Some news items may also be considered non-essential, such as obituaries and end of year magazine reviews.
In any society, organizations, businesses, and societies, including schools, must demonstrate to the public that they are accountable to, and responsible citizens. This can only be attained through a system of multiple outlets for getting news. In small societies and communities, this system of multiple outlets usually operates through established and trusted media, such as radio and television, or through news agencies and news publications that have been widely trusted for decades. For large-scale newsgathering, such outlets may be either internet-based or terrestrial (as in the case of newspapers) based.
In the age of modernity, however, almost every institution and group is operating through multiple outlets at once, especially when it comes to spreading news, particularly breaking news, through the use of digital devices like televisions and computers. Instances when multiple news sources operate concurrently include running real-time data feeds on popular social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. It is therefore common for organisations to utilise several different online news sources, and even online news aggregators such as the Drudge Report, to get their daily dose of ‘breaking news’. However, some media organisations have started combining several different forms of online news, such as live streaming video and online press releases.
The fourth factor that has affected the newsrooms is page lead, the value that a page contributes to a story. Page lead is essentially the fraction of overall time that a story is on-screen – the longer it remains on-screen – the more valuable it is to the journalist. In the age of social media, the influence of social media on news can be high, making it difficult for individual journalists to determine what a page represents and its importance to a story.
This problem is worsened by increasing professionalism and decreasing information available for journalists to base their work around. Professionalism is defined as the way in which an individual relates to others and how it impacts the process of informing and sharing information, while information availability is measured through the availability of information – the extent and accessibility of data and sources. Many newsroom professionals believe that changes to news standards and ethics will benefit both organisations and individuals, and help to raise the bar on quality and representational value.
Newsrooms must work to change their editorial processes to reflect this change. Newsroom management must ask themselves questions such as how they define the key stakeholders in their industry, how they assess the quality and quantity of stories and sources, and how they choose the specific mediums through which they inform and present information. As well as asking these questions, they should also use standard ways of surveying their industry to determine the news value of their organisation. These could include soliciting opinions from customers and staff, asking managers and other key people, conducting in-depth research and focus groups, and evaluating internal structures and work processes. This information will allow news organisations to evolve and create meaningful ways of improving their news value, which can be the foundation for increased professional success.