Is journalism dead?

OLIVIA KATULKA

Many say the Internet is
killing newspapers. Not too
many people walk out to
their driveways in their
robes anymore to pick up
the crisp morning paper.
Kids are not eating their
Froot Loops while enjoying
the comics. Dads are not
sipping coffee as they try to
figure out Sunday’s crossword
puzzle, and moms are
not cutting out coupons for
hours before making their
trip to the supermarket.
Technology has taken
over almost everything to
make things better, easier,
and sometimes, cheaper.
Kids have their eyes glued
to their PSP or Nintendo DS
everywhere they go.
Crossword puzzles?
There’s an app for that.
But many newspapers,
instead of being killed off
by the Internet, are incorporating
its innovations. One
example: online video news
reporters.
“It’s a way a lot of people
get their news,” said Rachel
Canelli, a video reporter for
the Bucks County Courier
Times and Intelligencer
newspapers, who spoke at
the Bucks spring journalism
forum.
Canelli spends a lot of
time at the computer, where
she uploads her online
video newscasts. “The Buzz
in Bucks” lets Bucks County
know what is happening in
the Bristol, Tullytown and
Hulmeville areas, with coverage
stretching across the
county and sometimes to
Philadelphia.
At the forum, Canelli
shared her difficulties in
trying to dig up new,
upcoming stories. Social
networking sites Facebook
and Twitter make it a little
easier, assisting her in finding
her next lead, she says.
“Sometimes, I’ll update
my status or tweet: ‘What’s
everyone talking about?
What’s the hot topic this
week?'”
Facebook and Twitter also
help Canelli once the newscast
is shot, edited and edited
again. Just posting the
video with no announcement
is like trying to sell a
product without any advertising.
By building traffic to
her videos, the sites “show
the product to the people,”
Canelli said.
“The Buzz in Bucks” usually
gets several hundred to
1,000 hits per video.
It’s not a lot, but it’s a nice
chunk of the Bucks County
community that enjoys the
hard work that Canelli and
her team dedicate to their
job.
Although the social networking
sites have
brought success to
“The Buzz in Bucks,”
they may have had the
opposite effect on the
journalism industry as
a whole.
The reality is that
people are on
Facebook and Twitter –
and they’re on them a
lot. Not only does the
general population get
their news from social
networks, but aspiring
journalists even use
Facebook as a way to
contact and interview
their sources.
But Canelli doesn’t
like the idea of journalists
doing interviews through
Facebook.
“Facebook is unacceptable,”
says Canelli. “The
most credible interview is
face-to-face, and, sometimes,
on the phone. I’ll use
Facebook when it’s 5:00 and
I’m getting my interview,
and my deadline was at
4:35.”
She added: “The interview
is about the people. You get
a sense of who they are.
Their mannerisms. You
can’t get that with a
Facebook page,” says
Canelli. “There’s a lot of
crazy people out there.
and they’re on the
Internet.”
Although Canellia urges
reporters to be careful in
how they use Facebook and
Twitter, she said there is
one thing that will never go
away – news. There will
always be something going
on, and people will want to
know about it. It will be up
to the journalists to get it
out there in whatever way
they can.
“It’s a changing business,”
said forum speaker
Tim Carroll, staff reporter
for PolitickerNJ,.
To be successful in the
field, it’s necessary to be
able to flow with the
changes of the industry,
even if journalism is no
longer print and all electronic.
“It may be the case,” said
Carroll, “Just be a good
journalist and be thorough.
Journalism will always be
around.”
“Today, anyone can be a
journalist,” added Canelli.
“But just because you put
up a blog, it does not mean
you’re a credible news
source.”
Journalism may become
completely electronic as
time goes on.
However, it is important
that no one loses the sense
of what news really is – the
cold, hard facts. Just keep
in mind that Joe Schmoe on
blogspot.com is not the next
Bob Woodward.