I shadowed videographer Brandon Kusz at local NBC affiliate news station WNDU (News Center 16) during the first hours of his shift, which tends to start around 2:30 or 3 to edit and get live shots for the morning news.
Using news, television news in particular, to make money caught on with the success of the news magazine. Straying from just hard news into a mix of topics, they inserted themselves into putting together the story, and took a new pacing and look to create a new genre. The news magazine program still exists today, but as cable channels try to draw in more viewers during prime time and late night (just as 60 Minutes became prime time ) with political commentary programs such as Hannity or The O’Reilly Factor (Fox News.)
Other genres such as comedy have even found a way to use the news to be funny or satirical like self declared “Fake News” shows The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, making fun of politicians, celebrities, and parties alike. The important news meant to inform the audience with the facts may still exist on television, but are now competing and sometimes overshadowed by entertainment and news that leans towards what you want to hear. 60 Minutes may have been the drama of the righteous quest with a social purpose, but now prime time news related programs are more to draw in viewers with opinions or humor. Is it just the capitalist quest with a financial purpose?
News making money was just one way the line between news and business started to blur and make radical changes to the newspaper industry. In the 60s and 70s newspaper began going public to make money. It resulted in the need to appeal to a mass audience and advertisers in order to fund news gathering, changing the business model that supported journalism.
Today, with the prevalence and amount of different news sources online, information and news seems to have gone extremely public in a way: now anyone can write it and post it, digital first and other non-legacy companies have formed online, and news can be accessed by smaller and smaller devices from almost anywhere…for free. This has been a devastating change to the business model that supported newspapers through subscriptions and ads. Why pay for a paper when you can go online, even get the news online from that papers’ s website? Why pay for an ad in the paper when you can post on Craig’s List for free? Papers are still struggling (some shutting down or going to only three days a week instead of a daily paper) to respond to this shift to the Internet. No longer are legacy, traditional news sources the only source of news and no longer do Americans have to pay to learn more.
While Twitter has become a platform for news organizations to posts bursts of breaking news, Facebook, founded only a few years earlier, has become a place for every celebrity, interest, and business to have a place to advertize directly to the people. News organizations are no different. What works about Facebook over Twitter, a website, or a blog?
The Platform Itself
Facebook has a place for a lot of different types of engagement. Text or links on statuses and notes; a page for background information, history, biography, mission statement; a place for photos and videos; creating events; the ability to set other subsections on the home page. The uniform layout of Facebook gives a clean, more professional look to every page than the vast creative possibilities of simply blog sites.
Direct Connection to Readers/Customers
If an individual likes or befriends your page, your post will show up on their newsfeed, which allows you to insert yourself into their social experience daily, between a friend’s status about her day at work and a sister’s baby photos. They don’t have to make a special effort to come to your page or website; as long as they don’t choose to hide your posts, it takes some effort to be able to separate your news from the social, interpersonal posts in their news feed. It’s an easy place to give them new information and self promotion.
Ease of Getting Reaction
Unlike a website or blog where you might have to sign in or create an account to comment, on Facebook, readers are already signed into that account as themselves, and below the post is that open box they just have to click on (it even says “write a comment” in the box). Even if readers had something to say on another blog or website, they may not consider it as common or appropriate to comment on it as they would on Facebook – after all Facebook encourages the social interaction. You can easily see what people’s reactions are by reading their comments.
Knowledge of Viewership
Similar to recording hits on a blog or webpage, the size of your audience can be more easily guessed by noting the number of “like” or “friends” to the page. You can also tell what articles more people might have bothered to read or enjoy by the numbers of likes to the post or number of comments on it. If you create an event, you can see how many people are, are not, are maybe attending the event.
Lastly, but most importantly, using Facebook makes it very easy to have readers engage and participate in news, rather than passively receive it. They can read and then comment on it alongside their friends and neighbors. They which of their friends have liked the page or liked a post. They can start an argument with someone over what they believe about an issue or event. You can make readers feel like they are a part of what you are posting about and make them feel as though their knowledge and comments are important to the events you are telling the about.
For more reading on effectively using Facebook as a news source, go to http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/14-tips-on-managing-a-news-outlet-s-facebook-page/s2/a551891/.
Considering the very beginning of the story began with an online interaction, was exposed with an online article, and spread across the world like wildfire online, it’s only fitting the Manti Teo Hoax story be told with online media.