We journalism. Toumi (2011) maintains that “modernWe journalism. Toumi (2011) maintains that “modern

We are using user generated content not as a primary
source but to extend the life of         stories,
as a way of adding more perspective and insight, not just as way to let people
talk        amongst themselves, but
actually with a purpose to generate more leads and more insight                  (p. 13).

According to Gillmor (2004), “the ability of anyone to make the news
will give new voice to people who’ve felt voiceless – and whose words we need
to hear” (p. xviii). This new voice is
only possible in a place free of ethical and quality control measures, which
might impose limits on how people express themselves. Most importantly, is that citizen journalism will prevent the control of
journalists and therefore challenge their power to control the interpretation
of the world. It is for this reason that social media is accused of the blurring of boundaries between
journalists and non-journalists. Bloggers, for
instance, provides unmediated coverage of events and different angles to
stories that might be missing from mainstream news and in many ways, challenges
the skills of traditional journalists putting then at risk of being outdated as
it continues with its evolution.

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Despite, the arguments above, I argue that social
media is a goldmine that provides journalists with a new set of skills and
opportunities.  My argument is inspired
by Newman (2009) who proclaims that “social media, blogs and UGC are not
replacing journalism, but they are creating an important extra layer of
information and diverse opinion (p. 2). 
These new skills and opportunities are possible because social media has
added and improved the dimension of communication making it two-way and
interactive.  Social media has simplified
many things, and even the journalism sector acquired many things through
internet journalism. Toumi (2011) maintains that “modern social media have
changed the landscape of journalism and have paved the way for more
‘opportunities’ rather than threatened the existence of traditional form of
reporting.”  Quigley (2010) believes the role of traditional journalists as
interpreters remains unchanged, but the need for journalists is even more
necessary now than ever before because “when rumors are running wild,
journalists can verify what’s really going on and report it through social
media channels.” 

The possibility of
journalists being laid off as a result of social media is far from being
possible given the abundance of news
channels, information, and sources that are now available for direct access to
users through social media. This has severely complicated the way readers to
find and follow important stories as well as establish the truth. Pavlik (2003) blames all that on the
open nature of social media that results in ordinary people reporting and
engaging with the news thereby raising the potential for misinformation. Social
media makes verification of issues difficult because it creates an information
overload on the part of the audiences who often are not intelligible enough to
filter for truth.








Guardian’s director of publishing, Simon Waldman,
argued that social media (blogs, text messages, and pictures), increases the
volume of information but the most significant weakness with such data is that
it lacks shape, structure and, ultimately meaning (Gazette, 2006). Waldman also
argued that the surplus of stories coming from social media requires
journalistic skills of reducing, prioritizing and shaping information, which
aids understanding and adds meaning (Gazette, 2006).  Journalists are therefore still vital in the
social media era because they help to piece together the occurrences using
images, videos and eyewitness accounts. This necessity of journalists as
trusted mediators of reality in the social media age is further reinforced by
Newman (2009) who concluded that:                                                                                        Most
people are still happy to rely on mainstream news organisations to sort fact
from   fiction and serve up a filtered view, but they are increasingly engaged by
this information, particularly when
recommended by friends or another trusted source (p. 2). It is obvious from
this statement that the traditional journalistic process is vital in adding
meaning and understanding and without them, it will be much harder to make
sense of what is happening in the world.                                                                                                                    Also,
social media is not threatening journalism because it has given birth to
networked journalism. As per Beckett (2010), networked journalism means:                                                                   a
synthesis of traditional news journalism and the emerging forms of
participatory media          enabled by
Web 2.0 technologies such as mobile phones, email, websites, blogs, micro-           blogging, and social networks.
Networked Journalism allows the public to be involved in      every aspect of journalism production
through crowd-sourcing, interactivity, hyper-            linking,
user-generated content and forums. It changes the creation of news from being     linear and top-down to a collaborative
process (p.1).                                                   In this case,
social media has enhanced the practice of journalism by enabling networked
journalism that thrives on information from various sources. Social media has
improved interactivity between journalists and audiences as well as within
audiences themselves, making them more responsive to media. Quigley (2010)
states that:                                                                        with
story and blog comments, Twitter and Facebook, that responsiveness comes much    more naturally, and more quickly. Readers can
now react and be heard in real time during             news
events, and the benefits go both ways. People are more likely than ever to
share our             work with their
online circle of friends and family, giving us an expanded audience.      As per Bowman and Willis (2003),
“networked journalism nurtures the development of real communities around
journalists, stories, and the media organization’s brand involvement. With a
weblog, for example, a reporter has a place to extend reporting, interact with
readers, exercise personal conscience, and share some level of personality that
might be absent from his ‘unbiased’ reports” (p.55). Journalism researcher Mark
Deuze in Bowman and Willis (2003) believes that networked journalism will also
lead to better stories and better journalism.