Social media changed the rules in the newsroom
Kreeta Karvala, Iltalehti's editorial writer, is a long-standing news professional. She remembers the moment when she realised that the way to communicate news had entered a new era.
It was when the Indian Ocean tsunami occurred in 2004. At the time, Kreeta Karvala was working as a news editor at the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle and had a front-row seat in seeing how it was an online community of Finnish divers who became one of the most important and reliable sources to explain tsunamis.
The tsunami made the traditional media recognise that people who were networked through internet communities – however crude – were able to beat them in speed and accuracy of acquiring news. Karvala thinks that the tsunami was also a watershed; the decade that followed it has witnessed a completely new way of consuming and producing news. Media have entered a more interactive era because new social media services have enabled people to reach even the traditional media more easily, and they have brought up new sources for news.
According to Karvala and another long-time media professional, Eero Leppänen, now an online news producer at Lapin Kansa, the changes seen in the past decade are apparent in everyday newsroom operations and in news consumption.
In social media, a news consumer can turn into an active news producer in an instant.
Karvala: “Social media platforms have become a huge source pool for newsrooms, and they provide us with news tips as well as photos and videos from the public. Journalists can also use social media for finding interviewees and information.”
Leppänen: “There are cases where social media can blur the lines between a reader and a journalist almost completely. But there is still a long way to go. I think it's the attitudes among us journalists that are the biggest hindrance.”
“When the reader becomes the journalist, even the traditional media may adapt to new methods. We might be forced to do it.”