The Digital Frontier

BREAKING: Journalism isn’t dying, it’s evolving.

Regularly hailed as one of the “most useless college majors,” journalism students are often faced with the question, “why are you studying journalism? It’s a dying field.”

Well, new research has finally proven what we journalism students have been saying all along: No. It’s just changing.

Pew Research Center recently released their 2014 State of the News Media report, and it finally shows some promise and hopeful words for journalists-to-be. For me, a lot of the information seemed very obvious, but for others, it may not be so apparent. Essentially, news is moving online.

Shocking?

It probably shouldn’t be.

In 2013, one of the major shifts was digital news video. People are moving into multimedia outlets, notably the New York Times and their multimedia projects and interactive storytelling. These shifts speak to a newer generation of audiences who are much more tech-savvy – in order to draw an audience’s attention, you have to do something interesting. And the opportunities to make something interesting abound in a world of constantly evolving media and potential.

Pew noted that not only the ability for storytelling is changing, but the audience is in shift as well – most notably, the Hispanic population in the US has grown 50 percent from 2000 to 2012. Not as many people are watching local TV news, but taking it to online videos instead (but don’t despair, broadcast students, you’re still reaching 40 percent of the American population).

And social media is playing a huge role in the newstelling process – Pew found that 50 percent of social media users share news stories, images or videos and 46 percent discuss news stories online. This reveals a lot about the power of social media – it’s a tool to connect people with news stories, and that opens up a whole new place for journalists to make a mark. Social media is connecting people directly with stories, exactly what journalism has been trying to do all along.

And, most importantly for students studying (or wanting to study) journalism – jobs are expanding. (Triumphant cheers arise from journalism and communication schools and programs across the country). With different types of journalism popping up across the industry, more and more companies and platforms need to hire people for different types of work – multimedia, reporting, organizing, compiling, social media-ing, all sorts of fun stuff for journalism students to do and so many new ways for students to tell stories. Pretty hopeful, especially for those starting their careers now.

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