With the continuous advances in technology and the rise in social media, many journalistic outlets are choosing to establish their own online presence, sparking debate among both readers and those who work within the journalism field. Upon interviewing five journalism students at the University of Wollongong, I was able to gather their opinions regarding the debate over online journalism. Four of the five students interviewed believe that online journalism is useful in the distribution of news, whereas one interviewee believes that online journalism defeats the purpose of traditional or print journalism.
Many believe online journalism to be more accessible than traditional journalism, as you can access online articles and stories from home. Liv Gee, an aspiring investigative journalist, also finds online articles to be useful in following other articles for further information on the chosen subject, and also shows where the writer gathered their information for their story. Liv claims, “If I’m reading something and am feeling a bit iffy about the writers perspective or credibility, it’s easy to look up another article on the same topic, or look at comments on the original article and see if there’s a raging argument.” However, Brittany Rogers – a student hoping to be a feature writer, travel writer or editor – believes that online journalism defeats the purpose of traditional journalism, claiming, “I think it takes away a lot of jobs from traditional journalists… if we didn’t have online journalism we’d have more print journalism.”
The majority of the interviewees believe that online journalism will – for the most part – dominate the industry, as technology continues to advance and we become able to access journalistic articles from a wider range of devices. Tisha Rabe, an aspiring fashion and beauty editor or head editor for magazines such as Cleo and Cosmopolitan, states, “with technology on the rise and the cut back on the use of paper for environmental reasons I do see journalism being more online in the future.” Caitlyn Ellender hopes to one day work in the marketing and advertising field of media, and agrees that the takeover is almost inevitable. However, she also adds, “I believe people still enjoy a physical copy of a magazine or newspaper.” Jarrett Wall, who is undecided between sports and music journalism and teaching, suggests that some aspects traditional journalism will survive, but also predicts, “they’ll have a changed role.”
The credibility of online journalism can also be questioned, as the rise of citizen journalism is apparent. Brittany suggests that it can depend where you gather your information when it comes to online articles, as blogs may not be as credible as, for example, The New York Times. Jarrett believes, “…there will always be a need for trusted news sources and with the lack of reliability on the Internet, traditional sources that we trust become more important…”
Despite the rise of online journalism, all interviewees agree that it can be more relaxing or pleasing to actually have a newspaper or magazine in front of them, and it was suggested by Caitlyn that online journalism is more a more useful and easier alternative in researching for assignments or essays.