In this essay I hope to test my hypothesis that the role of a journalist has changed and to do this I used a range of sources including academic and cultural. For my academic sources I used a selection books and for cultural I found some online articles on the subject. I chose this topic for my specialist study because I want to know how the role has changed but also how social media and the internet has effected the industry. Also, I think this will help me when coming to work on my final major project. This is because for my final major project I will be making a digital product and be taking on the role as a journalist.

Newspapers and journalists have been around for decades with the first newspaper being published in the 17th century and since it was the 17th century, the newspapers had to be made by hand or by a printing press.

A journalist’s role didn’t just change overnight; it has been slowly evolving over time so that it is up to date with the newest technology. According to Conboy “from the mid-1990s, the internet and a whole new vocabulary of blogs, tweets, citizen journalists, user-generated content, news aggregators and wikis have stretched and challenged the boundaries of journalism” (2011, p162). This shows that the role of a journalist has not only changed but that there is a whole new vocabulary surrounding journalism and that it started changing two and half decades ago.  Another person who supports this is Marsh who said “tweeters, bloggers, ‘citizen journalists’, all unheard if a decade ago, are changing the face of the news media” (2012). This is definitely true as a lot of journalists use ‘blogging’ as a way to reach a younger and wider audience.

“In the last decade digital technology has disrupted print journalism, requiring journalists to rethink how they deliver content to audiences” says Murphy (2012). This shows that digitalization has caused print journalism to decline and is why the role of a journalist has changed.

With a decline in print journalism, journalists have had to change how they distribute media. To keep up to date with the digital age, journalists turned to blogging as a way to target their audience, but also to reach a wider demographic. People find blogs an easier way to consume media on a day to day basis as they are easily accessible on a mobile phone and they are free to access. This is proven when brickweb said “with the advancements in technology more and more people are choosing to consume their news online or through smart phones and other mobile devices” (2011, updated 2016).

Since the digitalization of journalism, blogging has become a popular tool for journalists. This is shown when Bradshaw and Rohumma said “successful journalism blogs have emerged from every quarter, from the BBC’s Robert Peston, whose award-winning financial blog broke the story on the crisis as Northern Rock, to the initiatives of local newspapers like the Birmingham Post, which invited leading figures to use their website as a platform for expert analysis on local issues” (2011,p 74) They later said that “blogging offers a new way for journalists to source leads and to attract useful sources” (2011, p 77).

The new digital age of media as also helped connect writer to reader as online you can leave comments. This is supported by Bradshaw and Rohumaa when they said “traditionally a journalist built a contacts book through accessing directories and networking events, blogs turn that around, making it easier for members of the public to post comments on a journalist’s blog” (2011, p78).

However, it isn’t just blogging that has changed journalism and the media. With social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, it has become easier for journalists to spread the word on current news to millions of people online. In 2008 journalists took to Twitter as a tool after terrorist attacks in Mumbai and in the same year news of the Chinese earthquake was broadcasted by Twitter. “Social media has transformed newsrooms, speeding up news gathering and enabling recourse to wider ranges of sources and material” says Jewell (2013). Brickweb also said “one of the more positive effects it has had is that it actually is one of the easiest ways of having content distributed on a grand scale” (2011 last updated 2016).  With millions of people having a social media account, it is easier to be kept up to date via social media than by the news being printed in a newspaper. Also, some social media sites like Twitter allow you to use hashtags. This means that if there is a hashtag about something that has happened in the news, you can search for it on Twitter and can see every tweet that has used the hashtag.

Social has also has a negative affect on journalism with it completely taking over the role of a journalist. “In the old days, a reporter was given a lead or went out to find a story. Today, many stories are received third hand (sometimes even fourth or fifth hand) through Facebook posts or Tweets or Digg” says Alejandro (2011). This means that reporters are losing the chance to be first to cover/broadcast a story because before they even hear about it it has already been broadcasted on social media.

In conclusion, I have found the role of a journalist has changed which has supports my hypothesis. I have found out to what extent the role has changed, when it changed and what caused it. Also, I have learnt how social media changed journalism and how a journalist would use their social media to reach a wider audience. Choosing to cover this topic for my specialist study has also helped me understand how social media is used to target and audience which will help me when I come to create content for my final major project.


Alejandro, J (ND) Journalism in the Age of Social Media (online), 07/02/2017

Bradshaw, P and Rohumaa, L (2011) The Online Journalism Handbook, Pearson Education Limited

brick web (2011, updated 2016) The Internet and It’s Effects on Journalism? (online),, 11/01/2016

Conboy, M (2013) Journalism Studies: The Basics,Rutledge

Harcup, T (2015) (3rd Edition) Journalism Principles and Practice, SAGE

Jewell, J (2013) How Twitter has helped the emergence of a new journalism (online),, 03/02/2017

Lambert,T (2012) A Brief History of Newspapers (online),, 03/02/2017

Marsh, D (2012) Digital Age Rewrites the Role of Journalism (online), 11/01/2016

Murphy, K (2015) (Vol 25, Issue 2) The Changing Role of a Journalist(abstract) (2015), 10/02/2017