Backpack Journalists v. Twitter

With Twitter and the Apple I-Phone, it is clear that you can literally have the news at the tip of your fingers. Additionally, you can know the news almost as soon as it is happening. Take the Tiger Woods story for example; Twitter had reported it within minutes. See the article here.

For tech-savvy, computer users, how important is watching the news or reading the newspaper the next day if you already know what happened? Not only does this concern me as a journalism major, but it also makes me wonder about backpack journalists. Backpack journalists combine editing, producing, filming, and reporting in one and are also referred to as a “One Man Band.” They are known as the journalists of the future and many professionals will agree that they are much more likely to hire someone who knows how to perform all these skills. Now that many news stations are hurting financially, backpack journalists are a way for them to save money and cut employees.

While I understand that backpack journalists save money and may even make it easier for newsrooms, doesn’t it take them much longer to get their stories out? With a world of new technology and Twitter, which release news stories almost immediately, how is ONE person going to keep up? Lets say the economy does pick up, are they honestly going to have one person compete with Twitter? How is one person going to be able to quickly report, film, edit, and produce?

I just think it may be smarter to keep hiring experts in one given field rather than hire a young backpack journalists to compete with the Internet. Although experts may still not get the news released as quickly as Twitter, they definitely can do the work in half of the amount of time. Clearly, if a news station has one great editor, one great photographer, and one great reporter work together, they can have the information released in half the time as one backpack journalist would. What do you think? How can backpack journalists strive to keep up with Twitter and I-Phone news application?

1 comment:

Katie said...

I interned with WUSA 9 over the summer, and they had a lot of backpack journalists. It's going to be the norm eventually. They actually get their stories out the same day. You have to be good at what you do, but it's entirely possible to go out, shoot, edit and have it ready by 5 p.m. It cuts jobs and puts more pressure on the journalists, but essentially we do the same thing in class. We just don't have to crank the stories out as fast.