My name is Scott Campbell, and I'm a 14-year-old freelance journalist and editor of a news website named Net News Daily.
In this post I'm going to share my thoughts on the future of journalism with you, specifically involving the internet and social media. Being a journalist in these times excites me. It's reporting the news as it happens, talking to everyday people with fascinating stories and seeing the media industry evolve and migrate before my eyes.
Take this story: 3.23pm, January 15, 2009, New York City. Entrepreneur Janis Krums tweets that he is leaving the city after having a great day, but is stuck in traffic.
Approximately 13 minutes later, Krums updates his followers once more, with a message that would change the public's perception of social media use.
"There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy."
Included in his message was a picture of the plane itself in the river, which would later become the basis of coverage of the events.
It was at this point that many conventional media outlets realized the true value of the internet in news reporting, the amount of users putting newsworthy content online. Shortly after, a number of news organizations began promoting their user generated content submission programs, particularly on the internet.
For example, in March, Sky News appointed Ruth Barnett as their Twitter correspondent, her sole job to scour the social network for news.
The element of people posting news as it breaks on social media stems from the fact that true Twitter addicts can never resist the temptation to share what they're doing with the world. Whether it be "drinking a cup of coffee" or "fleeing a burning building", it's all out there.
This raises the question, who is classed as a journalist? The most widely used official definition of journalism is something along the lines of "reporting, photographing or editing for one of the forms of media."
The status of the internet community as media is regularly debated by professional journalists and the community itself. In my opinion, the online community is there to alert us all to news, whereas journalists should research, verify and add to content provided by users.
While there is an obvious gap between the internet and professional journalists, there is a distinct area between the two that is harder to categorize: news websites.
In January this year, I created a news website. It could be counted as a blog, meaning that we're technically the online community, but we carry out investigations, research stories and conduct interviews, which also qualifies us as journalists, going by my earlier definition.
Blogs offer opinion and analysis from a different perspective, as well as the ability to get the news on the internet quickly. A blog's readership is more valuable than that of a newspaper, as blog readers will follow content religiously, simply because the blogs that they read will appeal to their interest niche, whereas newspapers contain general content, so it's harder for readers to relate to every article.
Twitter has also spawned its fair share of news services; one claims that it's the world's most complete news-gathering system, and regularly puts out updates must faster than "old media."
I personally think that over the next 10 years, newspapers will begin to migrate all of their content until they become available online only. The problem is that many offline journalists are completely ambiguous to the power of the internet. I was at an event recently when I overheard some journalists having a conversation about online newspapers. They basically said that the online news industry is going nowhere. Oh, what a surprise they'll get when they are replaced by "online content producers" and "interactive editors."
Simply put, online media is the future. Love it, live it, learn it.