Before the Internet, printed news used to be a varietal job, as seen in Journalism: A 1940 educational film in print journalism. Beginning journalists were generally young and agile, able to work long hours and in harsh conditions. Editors and publishers all had many years of experience and specialized knowledge in certain fields. And then, most of all, there was the actual printing of the paper, which has its own procedures and variety of specialized workers. The point is–printing the news was a physical and mechanical job.
Though what is most amusing in this antique video is the limited roles of women; those roles were confined to writing about entertainment, cooking and housework. That is clearly different today; journalists are prized for being more of a “jack of all trades” rather than an expert in only a few certain areas. What used to be known as an “outside journalist” (because of the constant travel for interviews) has now become a “backpack journalist,” able to not only interview the source, but also to write the story and maybe even take a photo or video.
Aside from the general characteristics of the journalist, the Internet has thrown a curveball into the realm of journalism, causing a ripple effect in every medium of distribution. The video Page One: Inside the New York Times puts into perspective just how much of an effect the Internet has had on newspapers in particular, specifically legacy giants such as the New York Times. However, it was interesting to find that contrary to popular belief (that all newspapers will be extinct by sometime in the next decade or so), some companies have been able to take advantage of the shift from print to web. Though the “legacy” newspaper New York Times had to make cuts in certain areas of production, it has still been able to build a network on the Internet through charging a subscription fee.
But what is even more amazing is what has blossomed out of this boom of information, and that is the evolution of what truly can now be free press. You don’t have to pay for news, aside from your monthly internet bill or traveling expense to the library. In fact, I can even get the latest news sent to my phone while I am driving out in the middle of nowhere. More common, my laptop’s homepage features the top headlines, ranging from worldwide to entertainment news.
The Digital Age today has made it easier for everyone to keep up with the latest news, which is often personalized to every individual’s tastes and values. Even more astounding is how news has become available and more appealing to younger generations; the news isn’t just for ma and pa with their morning coffee
—it’s for working young people and even teenagers in high school.
The scary thing, though, is that this spread of readership has also spurred a new generation of journalism, both good and bad. Now that our news is instantaneous, the facts that are represented in the material are not subject to accuracy until after the information has already been leaked. There still are the few muckraker journalists who try to uncover the lies and deceit of businesses and powerful forces, and to be accurate in doing so. However, there are many more journalists and bloggers who are just trying to get the newest information out to the public the fastest, with no regard as to whether the information is in fact true; that is the disconcerting development in recent years.
On either side, though, the revolution of journalism in the Digital Age is far from over, with new technologies emerging every day and constantly changing the way we receive and perceive news.