As a journalist, it’s refreshing to hear that as the world changes, there will still be a place for contributors. Those who are dedicated and introspective will insist that the world listens to them, and will be rewarded in the end.

In We the Media, by Dan Gillmor, he discusses the changes that the Internet has created with the media, especially with the role of the former audience. These are people who, before the Internet, weren’t able to openly contribute to the news. Now, with blogs, social media, and other forms of the Internet so easily accessible, readers can contribute globally.

“Ultimately, the audience will make the decisions. Success will come to those operations that make themselves required reading, listening, or viewing,” Gillmor said.

The former audience no longer sits back and allows decisions to be made for them; instead they are an essential part of the news. They let journalists know what’s important, their reaction and what should be reported on. News should not be completely decided by an elite group of journalists, but by everyday citizens. As journalists we are not the smartest, nor the only people who care, although before the Internet, we could trick ourselves into believing just that. Now the Internet has changed the rules, especially with social media, and we are forced to admit that our sources and subjects demand recognition.

How Has Social Media Helped Us?

Commenting is an easy, necessary aspect of journalistic work, which lets the reader add his or her own ideas to the story. While comments have a bad rap for hostile and uneducated additions, they are still necessary to enhance the story and add to the education of everyone.

Social media allows information to spread faster than ever before. One story that stands out was the recent snowstorm in Atlanta. Horrible weather forced students to sleep at schools and traffic jams clogged the interstate.  A Facebook page, SnowedOutAtlanta, organized information between those who needed help, and those who were ready to assist. This is just one example of how social media aggregated information in a time of need, and in the process made a drastic impact on access to relief efforts.

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How has your news consumption been influenced by the Internet? Do you use social media to learn about news or do you stick with traditional reporting? Are you a passive or active reader of news?

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