Imagine a reporter’s job forty years ago: follow a lead, research the subject(s), interview pertinent people and deliver a story, all while hoping that the editor approves the story and that the audience finds the content interesting. Competition came from other news networks and publications, limited to other skilled reporters and journalists. News media was the “fourth estate”, the medium that connected the individual to the world through periodicals and publications. The press industry proved that its doctrines and guidelines were effective in satisfying its readers, listeners and viewers of the time.
Now, let’s examine a reporter’s job in our present time. The manner in which a reporter obtains a lead and researches a story may adapt with new technology but the core process remains unchanged, as does the manner in which a story or piece gets approved and the method for which ratings are gathered and analyzed. The factor that has changed in the field of present day news media is the competition; the advent of communication technology and the power behind global networks has given anyone with internet access a tool with which they can project their ideas to the world.
The traditional process and concepts for publishing a story or piece weren’t geared to compete against their consumer market for readers and viewers and as such most of the media giants and publishing companies are reeling in the wake of global connectivity. Forms of news media, such as print publications, are dwindling in terms of readership and new forms of communication (cellphones, tablets, etc…) allow for content to be obtained and delivered in ways print media cannot. While all of these developments may seem discouraging to the budding reporter, the change this “interconnected estate” has brought has allowed for anyone to presents their skills and talents for reporting without having to work for a news media outlet. As essayists Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen put it, our “interconnected estate” is a place where any person with access to the Internet, regardless of living standard or nationality, is given a voice and the power to effect change.”