Yesterday in my Print Journalism class, we had a special guest speaker. Mr. Robert Nesta Morgan, Director of Communications for the Office of the Prime Minister discussed traditional media and social media. I ended up ditching my planned lecture, as the students were so engaged. It was a lively discussion that centered around privacy, one’s public reputation and big data. Mr. Morgan referred to the “fastfood-ization” of the media, a term I quite like. It truly is a new world out there when it comes to the media and journalism.
It was interesting to hear Mr. Mrogan’s perspective, as I have noticed this administration is particularly responsive and engaged with social media. Indeed, Mr. Morgan discussed a theoretical problem that happened early one morning. It was aired on social media, and before traditional media got wind of it and got it into the press, it was resolved. This administration is relatively nimble when it comes to responding to issues and engaging with the public, at least on social media.
Mr. Morgan also emphasized the need to use social media as a tool for practicing journalism. A tool that must stand on a foundation of the principles of verification and accuracy. This becomes even more crucial as this generation of students’ first instinct for research is to use Google and Wikipedia. They do not like to take notes, they take pictures of the slides. “Deep fakes” and AI are a threat to the truth. This is why verification and accuracy must be stressed even more. The process of discovering the truth unique to journalism must prevail. Let’s hope it sticks with these students.