In this blog post I will be discussing the impact the Internet had on journalism. This revolutionary system of inter-connected computer networks allowed journalists to integrate new technologies into their work. In order to discuss this life changing technology, and to appreciate what we have got this day, we have to break down how the ‘internet’ came about.
To put it in plain old English: the internet is a global network providing information and communication facilities. It is a network of local to global scope linked by copper wires and fibre optic cables. In 1957, the USSR launched something called ‘Sputnik‘: the first ever artificial Earth satellite to be placed in orbit. This created a public outcry in the US, who later bought the first production computer. These computers were nothing like the lot we are used to: they were room size, weigh 250 tons and cost an amazing $60 billion! These events led to the first few steps taken into the Internet world that we are blessed with having this day.
Over the years and a few inventions later, more and more people got used to the thought of owning a computer. This new technology had an especially profound effect on the news and journalism world. Journalists did no longer have to work with the time consuming typewriters and tape to tape recorders. The Internet was launched and introduced a whole new platform, something that the public never had before. Consumers would go online for information as never before as TV and newspapers just weren’t fast enough to meet their needs. A great example was the Oklahoma City Bombing that took place in 1995. Within an hour, there was a huge amount of activity created on the web, something that was beyond the analytical news that was common to the public. The invention of the Internet enabled the public to have discussions amongst each other, find more information and look at relevant images. This instigated a new element to journalism, namely: breaking news online.
With the Internet came a variety of new social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. It enabled the public to communicate with people from all over the world. More importantly, journalists could find news stories and contact persons from all over the world by just a simple click, in the comfort of their own home/office. Subsequently, Facebook and Twitter became a new source of news for journalists. It was a new way of communicating the news to the people in a quick and effective way. New ways of informing people was through (live) blogging and tweeting, it allowed for a great amount of journalism that was available online.
Overall, social media has affected journalism greatly, from reporting the news to investigating the stories. It has provided journalists with more sources to get their information from as well as ensuring that the stories that they are reporting on are true and happening. All I know is that we, the future generation of journalists, will be forever grateful for the great invention that is called ‘the Internet’.