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Challenges to journalism

 

By Stephanie Szeto @stepszeto

 

There are widespread discussions and even fear about the downfall of traditional journalism as claims going around that everyone can be a reporter with the advanced mobile technology and easy online access, which enable people to take instant photos of key moments then share and make comments to social media websites. For example, Hong Kong In-Media, one of the most prominent independent online media platforms in Hong Kong, encourages the public to upload photos, news or articles of what they see and hear on their website. Since it empowers people to report and never deletes articles or commentaries, except hoax or advertising spam, it provides Hongkongers the opportunity to experience the thrill of being journalists.

However, will the above mentioned situation be the combat of journalism? Multiple Journalism website (2015) believes a transformation is needed and the independent journalists with technology mind can stimulate a better journalism in the digital age. By accepting the technological change, journalists can see the diverse channels as a new opportunity rather than a crisis. From my own observation, journalists who are active on Facebook are more popular than those who are not. It can be explained by mere exposure effect that journalists can update their Facebook status every single minute and have direct interaction with readers, and shortens the distance between journalists and fans. Moreover, it can also be explained by the interface of Facebook. Research found that people who prefer Facebook than Twitter enjoy images and entertaining message than plain text. Thus, a journalist posting an article with an appealing image on Facebook is more likely to reach people than publishing on newsletter column. Subsequently, as Multiple Journalism mentioned that the technology era does not bring challenge to journalism if the journalists know how to make use of the new media channels.

Besides, psychology professionals can fully utilize the new media channels to reach the public by providing practical tips and easy to digest knowledge to raise public’s concern about mental health.

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