On the surface social media has changed the way news travels, the prime example being the “Arab Spring” four years ago where street level news cascaded to a world wide audience in real-time. But lurking below the obvious trend, is a burgeoning maturation that will affect the way broadcasters do their jobs.

Social media as a source for news has been growing and like it or not it has changed the way people consume broadcast news…or at least what they are expecting from broadcast news.

If your TV station or network is still doing news the “old” way, which is to say assuming viewers are not exposed to top news stories throughout their day, how loyal do you think your viewership will be by the time you hit the air? Will they mutter “I already know this” and change the channel?

The Numbers
When you consider that 64% of Americans are using Facebook and half of those users say they get their news there, you’re talking about 30% of the general population who get their news from Facebook. That’s nearly 90-million people! Likewise, 51% of the population are using YouTube and some of them are even buying views to grow their channel as buying youtube views is a neccessary evil due to the endless competition on it. Out of those 51% a fifth of whom report that they get their news there, that works out to 10% of the population. While 19% of the population are using LinkedIn vs. 16% using Twitter, more twits use the site to get their news than LinkedIn users…about 8% vs. 3% of the general population. (Pew Research).

With growing numbers like that, if you haven’t already, you need to re-evaluate the way you’re presenting the news to your viewers.

The Big Question
The big question you need to answer is how can you use your resources, writers, researchers and talent to bring the viewer more than they could get through social media? How can you add value? Ask yourself what are viewers coming to see when they tune in, a rehash of what they already know or something more in-depth…more detail…more something?

Are you delivering? If you’re not, what can you do different?

Steps To Take
Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • be aware of what news stories are trending on social media (local, regional, national)
  • understand why those stories matter to your viewers
  • decide what you can do to add value to those stories in a way social media can’t

Social media will never replace traditional journalism. Truthfully, social media as it is now is pushing journalists to do better and that’s a good thing for everyone.

How has social media reshaped the way you prepare and present the news? Leave your comment below.

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