“Everybody is a Journalist”. With more than 177 million smart phone users in India, the situation has worsened as the amount of content being generated everyday is superfluous. Citizen journalism is a new emerging trend that has made anyone with access to a smart phone the ultimate crusader for anything and everything, says Piyush D. Jha, Broadcast Journalist-to-be, India Today Media Institute.
The internet has brought with it a spectrum of information that can be difficult to process and leading to misinterpretation. There is a virus in the viral content which needs to be vaccinated right from its source. Everybody, it seems, is a journalist.
So why hasn’t journalism collapsed already? Why do we still watch news on TV, read the papers or install news apps?
Here are some factors:
1. Journalism depends on human interaction. So as long as there exists our compulsive need to interact with other humans, journalism will continue to stimulate us. Although automated news-writing systems have come up, there is no technology (as of now) that can cough up analyses and expert advice.
2. Journalism is extremely adaptive. When there was no technology, there were parchments. Now we have access to e-papers, news applications, websites, blogs. Journalism has always worked hand in hand with technology.
In fact a study reveals that 88% of Indian journalists spend over four hours online on any given workday. Most news companies and agencies have their own websites and Twitter handles that keep trending all day long.
3. Journalism is unbiased, and has no scores to settle. Non-journalists who take matters into their own hands often have their own vested interests involved. Also credibility is cardinal. Who would you rather trust?
4. Journalism provides analysis. Only trained journalists can explain a complicated event or process in a comprehensible narrative. Television and radio news is extremely relevant in India as 282 million people still cannot read and write. With so many people dependent on the media, journalism is certainly here to stay.
5. Good journalism, whether in print, on TV, on the internet, or on the radio, can impart citizens with social empathy and a deeper sense of community. The recent coverage on rapes in India has garnered worldwide sensitivity toward the issue.
6. Journalism serves as a public forum in the society. It gives a voice to the common man by allowing opinions and comments. There is instant feedback. It makes sure that everyone has a voice and that it is heard. It thereby renders the term ‘Citizen Journalism’ redundant.
7. Journalism mobilizes public opinion. The media makes sure that the rights of the poor and defenseless are upheld. Great media campaigns can change history and shape new laws. When you have a question to ask the government about their policies, the journalist does it for you at your convenience.
8. News means verified information. The journalist’s job is to provide information in such a way that people can assess it and then make up their own minds what to think. If a fact is unverified, it defeats the purpose of Journalism.
9. Journalism has fostered a sense of public courage: With the Supreme Court striking down the controversial Section #66A of the Information Technology Act, the importance of free speech and expression has simply been re-emphasized. So journalists, bloggers and tweets: there is nothing to be afraid of. The digital revolution represents freedom which is a decisive break away from the old media oligopoly into a world which is more participative and democratic.
10. It’s big business. Journalists are no more mere stereotypes who roam around with#jholas clad in #kurtas, There is way too much money involved in the profession now. Media companies generated Rs 1.12 trillion in 2013. If journalism was dying, how did this revenue increase 19% in just one year?
11. There are over 100 colleges and professional institutions with over 12,000 students of journalism in India alone. This directly indicates the interest of the youth towards journalism. There is an entire generation of young reporters, photographers and editors who are prepared and enthusiastic to fulfill journalism’s role in a democratic society.
12. There are countless journalists alive and dead who have changed world history forever. Glenn Greenwald (https://twitter.com/ggreenwald) , the journalist who broke the famous WikiLeaks – NSA spying story, was given access to a cache of 58,000 documents gathered by a young security analyst and former intelligence agent,#EdwardSnowden.
13. Contemporary media = traditional media + online media. With the contemporary media increasingly becoming a mix of several genres, the interest in it has only peaked.
14. There is a clear opportunity for journalism to rebuild its credibility. The internet has become a market full of biased and often prejudiced opinions. There has never been a stronger need for reliable information. Only effective journalists can ask the right questions and get us the right answers at the same time.
15. Journalism is (still) a respectable field. As widely criticized as he is, the irrepressible news anchor #ArnabGoswami gets the highest ratings for the channel with his shows, underscoring the message that “you can love us or hate us, but you cannot stop us.”