Heidi Sinclair, CEO of Heidi Sinclair & Co. and blogger for The Huffington Post, provided an interesting and heartfelt editorial on the future of journalism, “A Case for Journalism in a Post-Newspaper World From the Mother of a Would-Be Journalist.”
Sinclair points out that while the newspaper business may be dying, the need for accurate and insightful reporting remains pivotal:
With the evolution of user generated content that is not subject to journalistic ethics or even fact checking, driving news cycles, we need the Fourth Estate more than ever. But it must take on a different perch. Those [who] observe and chronicle and keep a journal on our times can do so from any place or platform. And if they are clever, wise, thoughtful, interesting, we will continue to turn to them…
Today, anyone with a computer or a cell phone can document and report on anything. And that’s truly amazing. Not only is it possible now to get a real-time news account of any breaking event anywhere in the world, but the reach of any individual’s report is virtually unlimited. One of my most vivid memories of this phenomenon was the US Airways Hudson River plane crash last January. Shira Ovide at The Wall Street Journal’s “Digits” blog reports that the story broke on Twitter literally as the plane was landing in the river. No professional camera crew or correspondent were necessary. The major news media followed with their own reports immediately.
But the real-time, instant nature of reporting news through online and social media, which makes this type of reporting so valuable, is also what makes it so vulnerable. As Sinclair mentions, there is no editor to verify facts or hold these accounts to a standard of “journalistic ethics.”
I’m not big into plugs, but I really can’t help myself here. Sinclair’s piece represents the essence of our organization, SixEstate Communications: applying the highest standards of journalism — the founding principles of the Fourth Estate — to a new media platform for our clients.
As long as the information an individual is reporting is accurate, transparent and appropriately-credited, there is no reason why blogs, Twitter or any other social tool out there can’t serve as a credible news medium.
David Reich is co-founder and CEO of SixEstate, blending a background in traditional marketing and public relations with over 5 years of experience managing hundreds of online marketing campaigns for all kinds of organizations — from small businesses and nonprofits to public companies. David is responsible for keeping SixEstate and its clients at the forefront of the rapidly evolving search and content marketing landscape. Connect with David on Twitter, Google+ or via email.