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Samantha Tollin, Spring 2012 Students

Changes in journalism present opportunities and challenges for reporters in San Diego

By Samantha Tollin

NBC's Jason Austell and Marianne Kushi at the anchor desk

Jason Austell and Marianne Kushi anchor NBC San Diego’s morning show daily from 5-7 a.m.

Before the Internet and social media existed, people had very few ways of getting news. There were traditional print newspapers, radio and other small news outlets.

However, with the emergence of the World Wide Web and social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, journalism has developed an entirely new purpose. Now, most news outlets have an online presence, which has slowly eliminated the tradition of print journalism.

According to Pew Research Center, “Specifically, among local news enthusiasts under age 40, the internet is the preferred source for eight of the 16 topics asked about, including:

  • Local restaurants, clubs and bars
  • Other local businesses
  • Schools and education
  • Local politics
  • Jobs
  • Housing
  • Arts and cultural events
  • Community or neighborhood events

Many reporters, photographers and other journalists have been laid off due to the unpredictable changes seen in journalism. This doesn’t mean journalism is diminishing or on the path to non-existence.

Journalism will never die

Former reporter for Voice of San Diego, Adrian Florido, was laid off from his position at the nonprofit news organization, but quickly got picked up by the public broadcasting station, KPBS within a short time period. Since he was hired, he has been covering border issues and now has his own radio segment. Florido says the change to broadcast has been challenging but rewarding.

KPBS border reporter Adrian Florido talks about the importance of journalism and his experience working at the Fronteras desk at KPBS.

Jill Steeg, former sports writer for USA Today and Sports Illustrated, says she can’t wait for what journalism has in store for the upcoming years. Even Facebook doesn’t know what’s in store for the future. Facebook has become one of the dominant sources for news in the past years. “More than twice as many digital news consumers follow news recommendations from Facebook than follow them from Twitter,” according to Pew Research Center.

Social media is changing the way people get the news, but even social media platforms are changing rapidly.

“My friend who is a social media guru was on the phone with Facebook last week and they said, ‘we’ll call you back in a couple days because the world will have changed by then,’” Steeg said.

Changes call for new skills

Journalists nowadays have to possess as many skills as possible—that’s the only way they are going to succeed in the industry. The days of having multiple reporters and photographers are over. Many journalists now are a ‘one man band.’

Adrian Florido at his desk editing segment

Adrian Florido using Final Cut Pro to edit audio tracks for the KPBS radio segment.

“I think its an exciting time for journalism. You have to constantly educate and update and almost reinvent yourself to stay up with all the technology,” Steeg said.

Bye-bye conventional media

With the emergence of technology, it can be very difficult to run a publication distributed once a day. People want news instantaneously, as seen in Twitter and other social media platforms.
“I never thought I would get all my news on Twitter. I don’t even go to websites anymore. It’s an adventure. A lot of conventional forms of media are struggling to keep up,” Steeg said.

Dagny Salas, web editor for Voice of San Diego, says she has to constantly reassess her tasks, as they are always shifting.

“As a web editor, I manage a lot of different tasks at the same time and I am constantly busy. I have gotten really good at juggling different things and constantly reassessing my tasks. It’s a challenge but it’s fun,” Salas said.

Journalism is a risky business

It’s extremely important that journalists take risks and educate themselves constantly on the new forms of media.  Senior vice president of communications at LTE Media Group, Paul Taylor, stresses the passion journalists need in order to succeed.

“With the advent of technology, most things we read in today’s newspaper are no longer new. Journalists have to be on their toes today in a more expeditious fashion than ever before with the rapidly changing world of technology,” Taylor said.

There is no “cookie-cutter” journalist lifestyle, but many journalists love not knowing what’s going to come next. This is an exciting time for journalists.

“Change can be hard but that doesn’t mean it’s bad,” Salas said.

Jason Austell, NBC San Diego morning anchor, is an example of a journalist who is extremely passionate about what he does and loves the rush of starting his early day with his viewers.

NBC San Diego morning anchor Jason Austell has been at the station for eight years. He has a passion for broadcast journalism and this has shown during his time as an anchor.

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