Traditional Journalists should have a Presence on Digital Platforms

Journalists what type of a phone and digital devices do you have? How do you use your mobile phones and digital devices?

It is surprising that in this digital age some Journalists still use phones that cannot connect to the internet. Others still do own laptops or desktop computers, cameras, recorders, flash drives or mobile phones that can record. Some rural and even urban based journalists do not even have a presence on social media.

These Journalists are being left out of the highway and wide world web. It is unfortunate that a Journalist who is a disseminator of information cannot have this very vital information for him/herself.

According to Wikipedia, new media refers to on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, creative participation and community formation around the media content. Another important promise of new media is the “democratization” of the creation, publishing, distribution and consumption of media content. The other aspect is the real-time generation of new, unregulated content.

This brings us to a term called Web2.0 that people loosely apply to these new, easier to use web-based tools for content creation, connecting with people, collaboration and many other forms of people to people interaction.

These tools are often called “social or new media” because they go beyond content, our connection to content and to each other.

New media in the development context

How can social media be useful in development? New media makes it easy for us toconnect with other people via social networks. There is need for Journalists to sign up and have social media accounts such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and blog platforms.

The above social media accounts have grown and have a lot of people. Facebook is mainly social and could be used by Journalists to publicise news items. Linkedin is a professional network which can be used by Journalists to connect with other professional and also help improve one’s brand.

There is also need for Journalists to collaborate and start networking online with other people. It is important for Journalists to be real in cyberspace as this helps with their brand and people will send them information related to how they portray themselves online. It is important to note that this opens up a Journalist to the whole world and does not limit them to their countries. Depending on how the Journalist networks online, it usually opens closed doors and the Journalist is able to get relevant training, many other opportunities and more information in a particular field of interest.

Journalists need to create and share content when online. This is important for the readers and followers of that Journalist as people are always expectant of something new. It is not fair that one can just be a consumer of other people’s content without sharing his own content. There are people who trust a Journalists perspective and analysis and all the time look forward to reading something new from them. The respect given to a journalist offline is usually transferred online. A journalist is a creator of content and therefore there is need to be consistent in news production and content management.

There is need for a Journalist to always share content. This should actually be a lifestyle. Too often, i have found Journalists holding on to workshops, trainings and other opportunities announcement and they wouldn’t want to share such information which will interest others. There is need for Journalists to change their mindsets and start sharing information online and even offline. It is clear that we live in a competitive world and that there is need to compete. Journalists also need to believe in themselves.

Journalists however need to learn how to find, use, organize and reuse online content. It is important for Journalists to learn how to use search engines in order to find relevant content online. One of the most popular search engines is Google. Google has a lot of content and many people use it at least once everyday whenever they use the internet.

Depending on what area of interest a Journalist has, it is important for Journalists to use google alerts for any update on relevant content. This helps in organising online content.

Discussion groups are very important platforms which can be very useful to Journalists as they can learn many things. In those groups there is a lot of content that is generated which can be used, organised and reused. With the permission of the writer some of the content can be shared with others.

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