The internet and social media have arguably become the fastest way for news to spread. Second to that, however, television is probably the second fastest. With their ability to get a news crew to the scene nearly all day, television stations are generally pretty quick to report news. This, however, with the added component of citizen journalism, can also pose a threat to television news.
Some reports show that television could stand to take the biggest his thanks to citizen journalism. Think about it– if a newspaper happens to land some great user-generated content after they’re already gone to print, there’s nothing they can really do with it until the next day. With most television stations nowadays, there is a 10 or 11 pm newscast, and with the national TV circuit, 24-hour news coverage is the norm. Cable television has already seen a decrease in subscriptions over the past decade, likely a sign that more people are choosing to rely mainly on the internet for their news consumption.
Television stands to take the biggest hit from citizen journalism because if a citizen happens to snap a photo or video, likely the first place they’re going to post it is to social media, where news has the opportunity to spread like wildfire.
Around 70% of all adults use some type of social media platform– more than enough to at least see news from others, if not share it on their own personal accounts. While a TV station is working to get a crew to the scene, details are often still emerging and unfolding.
In my opinion, the best thing television stations (whether they’re local or national) is to accept citizen journalism and user-generated content and try to work with it instead of fight it. As they say, two heads are better than one, and in this case, two journalism forces are better than one. By accepting user-generated content for exactly what it is–content– TV stations can work to put out an even better quality product night in and night out.