Journalism students and new journalists, did you know that reading social media status updates on your Facebook and Twitter news feeds doesn’t make you an informed journalist?
It’s no secret the world is changing and a lot of people are starting to rely heavily on social media outlets for news, but as a professional, you have to dig deeper for your information. Some younger people in the business seem to think watching a full newscast or reading a newspaper has gone out of style, but believe me that’s not the case.
When you’re not well informed it’s difficult to have an intelligent conversation about things other than the story that’s leading the news in your small market, which is sometimes referred to as “the talker.” It should come as no surprise that when it appears to your audience that you don’t know what’s going on in your coverage area it lowers your credibility with the viewers.
You have to make it a regular practice to read up on more than just the big stories of the day, which yes, are usually posted on Facebook or Twitter. Remember, the little stories can develop into big stories. If you’re well informed, you may be the person who sheds light on a certain issue showing the public why it needs to pay more attention to that specific issue.
I can also tell you that by being well informed you’ll stand out from the crowd. News Directors will be able to see that in your work and just by talking with you. It increases the chance of you getting a job or keeping the one you have. Your boss or potential boss will be at ease when they know they can trust you to get the job done and that you’re someone who doesn’t require a lot of hand holding.
I would love for some other experienced journalists to weigh in on this issue.