In the space of just a few years, the job description of a journalist has changed dramatically. It used to be all about researching and writing – relying on contacts, tips and a clattering typewriter.
Then along came computers, the Internet, mobile phones and eventually social media outlets like Twitter
Research and writing still play their part (quality control is another matter entirely), but the dramatic impact of technology has left its mark. Journalism has had a 21st century face lift – all shiny and new. But just like any waning star, push it too far and the features which made you famous get distorted.
When mobile phones first came out, it revolutionised news desks everywhere. No more racing to telephone boxes before the competition or being unaware of what was happening out on the field. Instead instant communication was completely possible as was the added advantage of always knowing where your reporter was.
A few years later and the mobile is at the centre of one of the biggest newspaper enquiries the UK has ever seen.
When I first joined a newspaper, mobile phones had just been issued. I remember my boss being over the moon when he realised I already had one.
Ten years later when new phones were issued to another editorial team, the reaction couldn’t have been more different. Equipped with all the latest apps and gadgets, the main reason for updating had been to make sure every reporter had access to a camera.
For a reporter, it’s now a case of researching and writing on the go, taking pictures, editing and filing all from afar. Being given the latest technology now has bigger connotations for the multi-tasking writer. For photographers it paints an even bleaker picture.
I’m no Luddite – moving with the times is in essence part of a journalist’s job – I blog, Tweet
just like anyone else.
But sometimes I do wonder if the definition of journalism needs to change to reflect the ever-changing times.
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