Rob Horowitz: Social Media: Key Component of the ‘New’ News Media
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Getting news from social media sites
About half of Facebook and Twitter users get news from these sites, according to the Pew report. For Facebook alone, given its widespread use, this translates to 3-in-10 American adults getting at least some news while on the site. For an overwhelming majority of Facebook news consumers, finding news is not one of the prime reasons they spend time on Facebook. They do so as almost an accidental part of catching up with the posts of family members and friends. A Pew survey respondent captured this process, ”I believe Facebook is a good way to find out news without actually looking for it.”
Further, the age group that gets news at the highest rates from Facebook is 18-to-29 year olds—an age group that tends to be less engaged with more traditional sources of news. This age group also contains the highest percentage of people who watch news videos posted on Facebook.
Most of the posts containing news stories that people read on Facebook come from family and friends—not as a result of ‘liking’ and as a result receiving posts from news outlets or individual journalists. Research shows that people by and large “are interested in the news they receive from family and friends, and curious enough about it to seek out more details.” In other words, the traditional agenda-setting role played by the news media, signaling what is important to know about, is now in some measure being played by the rest of us as we share what we believe is important on social media.
More and more social network users are not only posting and sharing news stories produced by traditional media sources; they are posting their own videos and photos of news events. Fourteen percent of social media users have posted a photo they took of a news event and 12% have posted their own video of a news event. This trend is part of the rise of ‘citizen journalism’ where citizens do their own reporting and fill some of the vacuum created by the ongoing dramatic reduction of local reporting by newspapers. For example, one of the main sources of information about Super-Storm Sandy and its continuing aftermath at the hard hit New Jersey Shore is “Jersey Shore Hurricane News” a Facebook site begun by an enterprising regular citizen, Justin Auciello.
As the new mainly digital news media structure takes shape, it is clear that social media is emerging as a key component. This positive development gives all of us the ability to share what we believe is important for people to know and to even produce news ourselves. This truly democratic development bodes well. However, it is up to each of us to use this new power wisely and well.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island
Related Slideshow: Changing Newspaper Industry
In a column entitled, The smartest guys in media give up on print, Alan Mutter, the former editor of San Francisco Chronicle, writes "For all the corporate-speak accompanying the dramatic restructurings of Twenty-First Century Fox, Time Warner and Tribune Co., the simple reason these diversified media giants are jettisoning their publishing assets is that their leaders fear for the future of print."
Throughout New England and across the country there is a dramatic decline in the print newspaper business.
The New York Times Company sells the Boston Globe for just $70 million - a loss of more than of more than $1 billion dollars over 20 years.
The new ownership - John Henry - a majority owner in the Boston Red Sox may have purchased the Globe for the value of the real estate. Estimated to be $40 million to $50 million.
New Bedford's newspaper is now is flux as its parent group, which was own by Ruppert Murdock's Dow Jones Local Media Group (a subsidiary of News Corp) has been sold off and is being merged into the same company as Fall River's Herald News.
The newco will be merging both the spinoff Dow Jones Local Media and the bankrupt Gatehouse into one media company.
Circulation is now just above 20,000 during the week.
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