The days of rushing to the television to watch a major news story unfold are over. Social Media has changed the way that we follow breaking news in things both big and small, from the release of who the four College Football Playoff teams are, to much more serious issues, such as the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. We were too young to understand, but we hear stories of our parents rushing to the tv to watch live footage of the Twin Towers collapsing on 9/11. Today, everyone would be glued to their smartphones, waiting for news updates, checking Twitter for reactions and video, and constantly refreshing their browser.
This is an example of the evolution that has occurred and how social media has disrupted the traditional television media. First, news being available on television disrupted the radio news industry. Now, since the creation of the smart phone, television news ratings have been on the decline and online and mobile news have continuously grown in popularity. While the attacks in Paris were unfolding and information was coming out, a lot of us were at the Seton Hall Basketball game at the Prudential Center. We couldn’t be near a television, but we were all up to date by continuously refreshing our phones for the latest updates. News is so much more available to us than it has ever been, and we no longer need to wait for the 6:00 News to find out what had happened locally or around the world on any given day.
As of September 2014, over 5,000 jobs in the online news sector had been created. This directly eliminates media jobs that were previously held by cable television stations. With less demand for tv news and less viewers turning in, news companies have been losing employees to the online industry. If this continues and news stations do not adapt to streaming online and staying up to date, they will face similar fates as Blockbuster, as discussed in our previous blog posts. Facebook is of course leading the way in disrupting the news industry, as 30% of the general population uses Facebook to get their news updates, and this number should have only gone up since the poll was conducted in 2014. This social media has led to a more interactive news experience and something that tv news can never offer. This information is available 24 hours a day, at users’ fingertips, and gives them the option to leave comments and voice their opinion for the rest of the world to see.
To combat this disruption and stay relevant, news companies are using the social media that is disrupting them to keep their brand out there, target more users, and combat the losses they are taking with the television news. Every major news network, CNN, Fox News, etc. has an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to reach more audiences and keep delivering news, but this time 24/7 as opposed to strictly at 6 and 11 PM. Radio news was disrupted and then adapted to become tv news. Television news is now being disrupted by social media and is adjusting accordingly because one thing will never change, people need to know the news.