The Pros and Cons of Social Media Reporting

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December 19, 2019

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Politics

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With the rapid decline of print, social media has found its way into manifesting a new world of reporting the news. Social media first started out as something many believed could be innocent, but over the last decade has spiraled into so much more.

All the information that is needed to read and hear stories are at the touch of a finger. Social media has become one of the main sources of news and roughly 68% of internet users receive their news via Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram Stories. 

One of the negatives about using social media in reporting is that we never really know if it is all that factual. Social media is a fast paced world and news can be spread and go viral in a matter of seconds. For example Facebook has become a heavily political based site. Much of the world news gets passed around and shared from user to user on Facebook. Some headlines are so bold, many just “click” without even reading the whole article and then the piece is rapidly shared and what we call “fake news” is passed around the social media platforms. 

According to Facebook’s help page, “We also use signals, like feedback from our community, to identify the stories that may be false. In countries where we work with independent third-party fact-checkers, stories rated as false by those fact-checkers are shown lower in News Feed.” 

Many people are found just scrolling past headlines and not wanting to read them because it is suspected that it could be fake news. 

Many journalists pride themselves on sharing the accuracy of news as a result of their outlets that they work for encouraging serious fact checking and continuously verifying the correct information at all times. In this new era of social media, some journalists feel the pressure to keep up with the speed of the business and often times can find themselves trapped when trying to share a story that they are not even sure is 100% factual. 

A positive in using social media in reporting is that the news does get spread fairly quickly. If the information is correct then it can be an excellent way of getting the news out before waiting and waiting for something along the lines to be printed on paper hours or days later. 

A Pro to all of this is that social media does, actually expose journalists to a wide spread of access of content. Our audiences are not twiddling their thumbs while they wait for a news piece to drop within a printed paper but rather at the touch of a button, able to spread the news in an instant. 

Social media platforms, however, have the ability to control which aspects of the information and news that the viewers see. What is meant by this is that, social media platforms are run by likes, shares, retweets comments etc. If the readers are not engaging with the information, it will not be shared. So the good part about using social media in reporting is knowing that as soon as the information is out, you have the power to spread the news around and become a citizen journalist just by sharing the story and giving the post the power to tell the story. 

Right now, one of the top social media reporting tools is twitter. Microblogging from twitter can sometimes help spread the news and spark a conversation amongst users. 

Today’s news is almost always forgotten by tomorrow as many say. If there is anything to be learned, it is to never give in to the headline before completely reading the story and deciding if it is in fact true information. Don’t be the person on Facebook who reads a bogus headline and shares it without even knowing what the story was about or if it is even true. 

 

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