The presence of social media in society is constantly growing. As of October 2013 64% of U.S. adults were using Facebook, the largest social media platform. As a result the way news in consumed has adapted and with it came mixed opinions on how this will affect journalism.
The 2009-10 Iranian election protests demonstrated the importance of citizen journalism and the importance of social media as a platform to expose breaking news stories. Nic Newman, a journalist for Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism wrote a working paper emphasising the power of social media’s ability to get a story out without a government being able to restrict access. Journalist for The Atlantic, Peter Osnos supports this idea in his article perceiving citizen engagement on social media as a means to combat journalistic boundaries in ‘arenas of turbulence.’
Although the influence of social media is an important factor in raising awareness towards politically delicate stories it is argued that the impact of social media is not entirely positive. Cyra Master of The Atlantic states in her article that social media and the internet is ‘A disaster for newspapers and magazines.’ She argues that the way in which consumers receive news online ‘trains readers to consume news in ever-smaller bites.’
Amy Mitchell of Pew Research’s article also suggests the way news is being consumed is changing. ‘The biggest reason people cite for clicking on links to news stories is interest in the topic.’ News on Facebook and similar social media platforms differ from other news outlets as it allows people to view news targeted at their interests. This is an issue for journalism as large chunks of news are left out simply because it was not tailored for that particular consumer. According to Jesse Holcomb’s article, statistics suggest social media news consumers are less inclined to support traditional platforms.