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The News Consumer Walks into their NewsFeed

As we discussed in our last conversation together, the relationship between journalist and news consumer is rapidly changing because the audience is active. They seek out the news via social media, apps, newsletters, and mobile outlets. It is important to understand this new relationship because reporters and consumers work hand in hand and there is a clear connection between them.

News consumers have changed from passive to active, meaning they regularly participate in the news gathering process. Sometimes journalists find information about potential stories from consumers on their social media, just as often as consumers find out news from the journalists. It is a symbiotic relationship. You scratch my back; I will scratch yours.

This also means that consumers can publish news, too. If you have a social media account, you are a mobile journalist. Congratulations! You are post about your life, experiences and report about key issues you see in your community. That is exactly what I do.


The JEDI Desk at USC Annenberg's Media Center

USC Annenberg

The new JEDI desk (short for Journalism and Emerging Digital Innovation), stationed in the Julie Chen/Leslie Mooves and CBS Media Center at USC Annenberg, had their first video go viral last semester. Student and Executive Producer Fernando Hurtado oversaw the first full semester of the JEDI desk and its success.


If you have a blog, website or social media accounts, I encourage you to think of yourself as a journalist. Think of the news you are sharing and how it will affect others. Go through the same journalistic process in deciding what you should post.

Because so many people have social media accounts, journalists can see what is happening in real time and be proactive about their reporting rather than reactive. Citizen Journalism allows us to report more fully about a community or a particular situation. However, with the advent of social media came an increase of misinformation that spreads like a wildfire across the internet. Instead of saying we should shut everything down and go back to the good ol’ days, we should become savvy consumers.

To practice this, write down a list of the media sources you go to outside of social media, which means television, radio, print, website newspapers, magazines, e-mail newsletters, etc. Then, make a list of the people, journalists and media outlets you follow. Understand we all live in a social media and media consumption bubble. Journalists and consumers alike need to step outside of their respective bubbles to become better reporters because truly we all have a role to play with digital journalism.

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