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Social networks as a source of information and the evolution of journalism

Efforts by today's media to follow the latest trends as a part of their struggle for survival is evidenced by the fact that the Associated Press has appointed a special manager for social media and collection of information from the realm of what we usually call a frontal, citizen journalism.

AP publishes most of the produced content via intermediaries, without a direct contact with news consumers, but the agency undoubtedly considers the end consumers to be a source of news, which leads us to the phenomenon of collaborative journalism.

Since the bombing in Oklahoma City and later attacks on September 11, the agency has begun accepting information and recordings collected in the field and from participants in the events themselves.

Spreading and explosive growth of social networks on the Internet has allowed a much easier sharing of news content. As a consequence, the agency's 3,000 journalists employed around the world now find if much easier to interact with participants and end consumers. In the words of their manager Lauren McCullough, the social web media now have a central role in gathering of news. AP's journalists are active on social networks and closely follow the trends.

At the same time, AP not only uses such media to collect news, but has adapted its own news sources to the social media, allowing easier involvement of end consumers and cascading distribution of information. As an example of an adapted source the web page served as AP's source of news during the Winter Olympics in Vancuver at the beginning of the year. This web page was adapted for social interaction and it offered widget applications that could be used for linking with other social media.

All things considered, journalism has to evolve and adapt to new circumstances, while still adhering to professional principles of accuracy, speed and precision. reports that the director of the BBC has advised and warned the broadcaster's employees that they need to keep pace with technological advances or change their job.

BBC's journalists were also recommended to use the social media web pages as a primary source of information, while its editorial offices have been encouraged to actively participate in collaborative production of news.

What is even more interesting, BBC's management believes that social networks' web pages should not only be used passively, but instead should be completely integrated in the business and news environment and actively used to promote own news content.

Unfortunately, while global media outlets have become accustomed to using the Internet and the social media, the local media may be expected to catch up to these trends only after the social media have evolved into something completely different.

Goran Anicic

About the authors

MC Newsletter, July 30, 2010

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