Technology, social media change news delivery

October 27, 2011

Staff Reporter


The field of journalism has made the shift from paper to technology – changing the way news reaches its viewers.


A majority of readers no longer rely on newspapers to inform them of the news but rely on online papers and social media sites, such as Twitter, for updates or news on the happenings of the world.


Val Hoeppner, director of education at the Diversity Institute in Nashville, oversees multimedia instruction for scholarship programs at the institute. Hoeppner said she thinks the way journalism has shifted to technology is a positive thing.


“Journalism is changing in the fact that technology is changing our delivery method,” she said. “The way we used to deliver things is not the same anymore. Journalism changing is a good thing. We can reach more people than we have ever been able to reach.”


Some Tech students like Ashley Dehart, a senior history major, believe there is no longer a need for printed newspapers in society.


“With all the Internet articles and applications on cellphones, there really isn’t a high demand for newspapers,” Dehart said. “It’s more practical and convenient to use these other news outlets.”


Hoeppner said newspapers have been in a crisis for the past five years. By 2025, there is a possibility there could be no more print newspapers.


“The old model of delivery isn’t going to work,” she said. “We are having to find newer and cheaper ways to deliver that content, and they have been investing heavily online.”


Hoeppner also said broadcast news does not have the audience that it used to have. She said that news consumers of today want their information immediately and on demand.


“They aren’t going to wait till the evening news at six,” she said. “The market for broadcast news is typically older. It’s not adapting fast enough to the realities of the Internet.”


Kathleen Pullen, a junior psychology major, agrees that she wants her news immediately and at her fingertips.


“I use my phone and the Internet because it’s more convenient,” she said. “I get all the facts I need wherever I am.”


Hoeppner said newsrooms are changing because the needs of the audience have changed. She also believes the biggest problem for newsrooms is adapting their staff.


“There is a lot of talent in traditional newsrooms,” she said. “They can visualize data, write well, and do photography and video, but they need to be trained for this new technology. Journalism is going to shift and continue to change until the viewers are happy with what they are getting.”


Teddy Allen, a writer and editor for the department of marketing and public relations at Tech, believes one of the advantages of the local print newspaper is that there are more important local stories written. With technology as the dominant provider of news, these stories may decrease.


“Little compelling, neighborhood stories about your neighbor across the street, the retired veteran down the road, the teacher of the year – I don’t think we are going to get a bunch of those anymore,” Allen said.


Although Hoeppner embraces the positive things that the new forms of technology offer news, she also thinks it could allow anyone to act as a journalist online, which might not be for the benefit of the readers.


“We have to leave it up to the public to decide who is a credible journalist,” she said. “The public is smart enough to figure that out, but in the end there are more voices that are heard.”


Hoeppner said there is a solid future for journalism and that it is allowing a younger demographic to interact with the news rather than just an older group.


“Journalism is healthy and it reaches a newer and younger audience,” she said. “Technology is making it appeal to young people to get involved at a younger age.”


Email comments to mmb041@latech.edu.


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