Social Media and Journalism

In a world where social media brings daily changes to the way we interact with each other, it is important to gauge the effect which this medium of communication has on another vital aspect of our lives: journalism.

The relationship between social media and journalism is a complex, challenging one. It is universally true that all news networks and personalities must find the right social media approach for themselves. This
has less to do with enhancing your own popularity, and more to do with reaching out to readers who are interested in your opinion (along with getting to understand public interest better).

Throughout 2011, the world learnt again and again that social media (in particular, Twitter) played a key role in major political revolutions such as those in the Middle East and Egypt.

More and more journalism degrees offer courses on social media and its connection to journalism, demonstrating the importance of this medium in the coming years. Mashable published a series of articles on the future of journalism with social media, saying, “The future of social media in journalism will see the death of ‘social media’. That is, all media as we know it today will become social, and feature a social component to one extent or another. After all, much of the web experience, particularly in the way we consume content, is becoming social and personalized.”

What is the crucial difference between social media and journalism? Journalism is a career – a profession, if you will – whereas social media is widely available to anyone with access to the Internet and a computer.

For journalism to integrate itself with social media, it is important that social media tools be used well bu the right people in order to enable the reliable and trustworthy dissemination of news worth reporting. Casual bloggers with no former training (also known as citizen journalists) are as much a part of this network as any other.

It’s important to recognize that without a degree of integration, journalism cannot survive in the world of social media. Print media is becoming rarer, and may be gone in some decades; publications such as the Huffington Post have preemptively made preparations to ensure that this does not affect them. It is crucial for other publications to tie journalism and social media together for success.

Journalism in Pakistan

Journalism in Pakistan has always been a difficult topic to address. Despite the outstanding work done by many in this department, the heavy censure and risky nature of the profession makes success and personal pride an elusive target at best.

As Abid Ullah Jan wrote in his article of the same name, “Imagine being expected by the government to paint a colorful rainbow of its ‘democratic progress’ when you have no brushes and only two pots of paint. Welcome to journalist’s world in Pakistan.”

In a field which until some years ago paid barely a pittance, it is increasingly hard to make progress. In the first decade of 2000, the media industry of Pakistan went through a significant boom. Radio stations and TV channels begin to emerge, talk shows with relevant themes and bold discussions surfaced and the media industry collectively patted itself on the back for a job well done. Journalism was, of course, a part of this industry as the champion of freedom of speech and the defender of people’s rights.

However, we must ask ourselves; is this tradition still being upheld? It is crucial to remember that such goals need to be renewed and worked towards over and over again, in order to achieve them and to keep the target in mind.

This is one of the cornerstones for the Agahi Awards; promoting fairness, justice and equality through Pakistan’s first ever journalism awards. Send us your contributions before 5th March, 2012!

Agahi Awards 2012

Journalism has been an integral part of Pakistan’s history since its birth, as one of the only mediums through which personal opinions can be voiced to a large audience. Such a tradition deserves to not only recognized, but also awarded.

Mishal brings to you, Pakistan’s first journalism awards as a means of recognizing and celebrating our country’s best journalists. These awards are meant to shape the future of journalism, and to encourage budding reporters and writers to exercise their potential in this field.

We welcome submissions for these awards, and encourage journalists to send in their efforts by the 5th of March, 2012. The categories for submission are:

1) Miscellaneous
2) Ethics
3) Terrorism and Extremism
4) Corruption
5) Conflict
6) Interfaith
7) Gender
8) Human Rights
9) Health
10) Energy, Water and Food Security
11) Environment
12) Education
13) Governance
14) Crime

The mediums for these submissions are:

Print (English, Urdu and Regional Language)
Television (English, Urdu and Regional Language)
Online journalism and blogs

You may submit your entries at awards@agahi.org.pk