A demanding profession in a fast-moving industry, modern journalism comes with many challenges. From practicalities such as cutbacks to U.S. news organizations (mostly in TV and print) to concerns about the impact of declining press freedom and consumer trust, journalists have much to consider in their work. One 2022 study showed that more than a third of journalists were extremely concerned about potential press freedom restrictions.
Meanwhile, there are growing expectations to be met – for example, many journalists are now receiving formal diversity and inclusion training. Then, there is the problem of disinformation to grapple with, coupled with low consumer confidence and changes to news consumption. A global survey held around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that almost 30 percent of U.S. adults reported getting news from influencers rather than journalists at that time. Whilst this figure is unsurprising in an age where online news consumption is higher than ever, it does highlight the way in which journalism and social media are becoming inextricably linked, which produces fresh challenges.
Social media and journalism
A report revealed that 80 percent of U.S. journalists felt that social media has a negative impact on journalism. There are several aspects of social networks journalists struggle with, including censorship and harassment. The most problematic elements of social media, according to journalists, though, are inaccurate news and one-sided news. These concerns are not unfounded – a survey found a substantial share of North American adults had encountered false information about key topics in the last week. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1317019/false-information-topics-worldwide/
Journalists face pressure to keep the public informed and engaged with verified news online, but at the same time, their growing engagement with readers often leads to heated and uncomfortable discussions. Twitter, in particular, has developed a reputation for being a difficult platform in this regard – and is the main social media site used by U.S. journalists. A survey on consumer attitudes to the problems with Twitter showed that Republicans and Democrats were united in their responses, with a similar share of each group citing inaccurate information and harassment or abuse as key issues on the platform, as well as the tone or civility of discussions taking place there.
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