Written by Matt Sicat
Twenty years ago, keeping up with the news required sitting in front of the TV, watching the Channel 4 team broadcast the day’s events, or flicking through newspaper and magazine papers trying to find articles that were of interest. But today, the invention of the Internet, smart phones, tablets, and the rise of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have changed the face of news and media coverage
On November 13, 2013, guest speaker Natasha Gutierrez, who is an ISM and Yale University graduate, as well as a current reporter for the Rappler online news site, discussed how news reporting has evolved over the years. One of her main points was that nowadays the public controls the news by interacting with writers online and publicizing their opinions about current events. In support of this movement in journalism, English teacher Kelly Arndt states,“the readers are the ones that hold the power.” However, Ms. Arndt additionally comments on the limitations of readers being more active with the direction of news, saying that as a result, “journalists won’t always follow a story that may have importance because the audience does not like it.”
During her talk, Natasha spoke of how technological innovations have allowed her to operate as a ‘one-man crew.’ When covering news stories, Natasha says that she uses her own portable camera and mic setup, which she carries around her purse, as well as direct access to youtube and social networking sites, on her iPhone, to share her personal findings with the public. As a result of this efficient method of uploading videos and sound bites, Rappler has garnered a reputation for being one of the earliest and foremost networks to release information in the PHilippines.
The rate at which news is released, however, does have its drawbacks. High School Counselor and former Information Literacy teacher David Birchenall fears that if “misinformation goes to press at such high speeds, incorrect information will be published and then repeated elsewhere and then elsewhere until it appears true.” This is why journalists face the extremely demanding task of collecting footage as a one man team, releasing news quickly and ensuring that all the information they collect is valid.
The diverse range of aptitude that is required for news anchors and journalists, as well as the massive viewing audience that news attracts in this digital age, has allowed news reporters to possess a significant influence on society. Today, reporters such as Anderson Cooper, Christiane Amanpour, and Natasha Gutierrez hold status’ similar to many celebrities, and in many cases have mass fan followings. But at the same time, people who don’t necessarily support the reporter’s statements are also more able to discredit the journalists. As Mr. Birchenall states, because of this broadened access between the public and the news, “More than ever, a journalist has a huge ethical and social responsibility.”
It is through the growth of diverse media coverage and journalism that the evolution of news and reporting has changed the way we see the world — and how we interact with it.