As I’ve been writing, reading and reporting news at KUAC and in my journalism classes the last week, an idea has been floating through my mind. The incredible power of media convergence has lingered since I read Searchlights and Sunglasses by Eric Newton. I’m well aware media has been evolving at technology’s side the last 25 years, but this partnership’s efficacy is just beginning to be revealed.
I often think being a journalist means working on your own – looking for stories like a lone wolf, the way traditional print journalists did in the movies – always in competition with one another. Newton described today’s post-industrial journalism methods as an advantage. When it comes to media convergence, he has an encouraging message for young journalists; to “embrace transparency” and use the many connections today’s technologies provide. IFRA’s Newsplex explains it this way, “using the possibilities and strengths of different channels, to reach the audience at any given place, and at any given time via the most appropriate media.” Now more than ever, there are countless gifted journalists connecting on a platform as versatile as the mind can reach.
Newton says creating news together gives each wolf the ability to find out where they fit in the pack. We’re given the ability to “focus energies” on the aspects of journalism we find enjoyable. News organizations taking this approach will likely create better content and even greater journalists. The News Center in Tampa Florida turned heads when they decided to merge the publications of a partner TV news station, WFLA and an online news site, TBO.com. The tri-organization working on a broadcast, web design and print format framed today’s joint TV, newsroom practices used by organizations like CNN and BBC.
Sharing media between news organizations today is increasingly encouraged and practiced, giving journalists more liability. Reporters must do even more fact checking when searching and accepting news from second, third or fourth sources. The traditional methods of first-source newsgathering may even start to seem more logical at times. In some cases it will be the most efficient way, which is an important situation journalists must learn to handle as old and new methods in media make their transition.