In a recent YouGov online survey on social media as a news source covering around 70,000 people across 36 countries, it was found out that over 54 percent of the respondents use social media as a news source. While 24 percent of them feel social media has the ability to separate real news from falsehood, 40 percent of the respondents think the social media are already filtering the news.
In the UK, those that have faith in news media are more than two times those that have confidence in social media. The figures are about 41 percent to 18 percent. Whether social media poses a significant threat to news organisation depends on how you want to see it.
News media release news everyday while news are being shared on social medial once in a while. The truth is only very few people go to social media for news. For instance, it is good to make it a habit to either listen to the news or got to news sites to get a daily update on happenings in your country and around the world. You won’t head to Facebook or twitter for news update.
In fact, giant news media now have official social media accounts to share real time information. So, considering this argument, social media can never pose a threat to news media. All of them have official social media accounts to reach their readers faster.
If you like CNN Facebook fan page and also follow them on Twitter, when any piece of news is tweeted or posted on Facebook, you will see it. The news is being shared by news media via social media, so on which side do you place news? Was it shared by social media or was it shared by news media?
Considering this scenario, you could say social media boost the activities of news media and you won’t be wrong. Right now, it has become a standard for all news media in the United State, United Kingdom and all over the world to have both Facebook fan page and twitter account.
On the other hand, you could also see social media as a threat to news organisation because a lot of news have been broken first on social media before news agencies came up to give details. For instance, the death of Osama Bin Laden was first shared on Twitter. Sohaib Athar, a man who was living near Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan recorded the arrival of the American Helicopters and the whole operation. He tweeted it all out before any news media could break it. In fact, news from CNN and other news media about the issue were seen as a mere confirmation. What makes news hot is timely dissemination. Nothing will be news to you if you have heard before.
News organisation can’t just break any news without first verifying the authenticity to avoid law suit. Besides, it is even unprofessional to do so. Meanwhile, anybody can share any news on social media without waiting to verify. This is one of the reasons social media will always beat news media to it. So, in this regard, social media could be a potential threat to news organisations.