Wagging the Dog: How Online Audiences are Changing the Landscape of News

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The Internet is no new thing. Its common use has been around for well over twenty years. Yet, while the mediums of print, radio, and TV remain largely unchanged, the ever-shifting sands of the Internet daily present new opportunities for news organizations. Unlike the static journalism in traditional media, online audiences are able to join the conversation with journalists and, thus, affect the message.

Online news manifests near limitless potentials for the engagement of audiences and audiences engaging journalists. Where journalists once told stories, their role is transforming to becoming facilitators of discussion. Through online journalism, the audience is now becoming the story-tellers.

The redefining of both journalism and journalists spurs the need for increased research into the developing dynamic between news organizations and their audiences. Studying this evolution creates a challenge akin to charting a land in constant flux.

My research seeks to examine the how often consumers of online news become producers of online news. The core of the study is a quantitative online survey regarding online news consumption and production. The survey is augmented by previous research focused on similar analysis of online news and audiences.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Researching online news audiences potential to become engaged with stories must look at three levels of engagement. I call them the three P’s: Propagation, Production, and Participation. Propagation is the consumer who is commenting, sharing, liking, retweeting, etc. news stories. Production is the consumer who adds to a story through original content; such as blogs, photos/videos, or other forms of citizen journalism. Participation includes audiences who consume online news but engage in civic participation either online or offline; those who go beyond adding to the story but become part of the story itself.

PROPOGATION

In recent years, there is a growing realization that the propagation of a local news story can have a butterfly effect. A relatively small event can suddenly gain a global audience. Recent years are rife with examples of how online news audiences took part in raising awareness of issues.

A case in Germany was central in a study of the exponential growth in propagating news. The researchers discovered how Twitter’s hashtag system facilitated an isolated discussion into a national debate (Maireder & Schlogl, 2014). Researchers identify that the structure of social media allowed for rapid growth. The overlap of users participations in online homogenous clusters spread the story to new audiences, who in turn propagated it further.

An anthropological study of the 2014 Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO further analyzed how social media infrastructures foster the consumption and propagation of news stories (Bonilla & Rosa, 2015). This study recognizes how the hashtag #ferguson brought several voices to the discussion. While this correlated to the case study in Germany, Bonilla and Rosa note that propagation through hashtags and similar index systems potentially limit the conversation to exclusively indexed tweets or comments, offering only a slice of a larger discussion.

The Arab Spring in 2011 was a watershed moment for online news. A study of local Iraqi Arab Spring youtube videos had gained a surprisingly high viewership in both the US and Canada (Al-Rawi, 2014). Viewership data showed that North American audiences ranked 2nd to the local Iraqi audiences. The study demonstrated that online news can garner major traction beyond the intended audiences.

The research shows online audiences can propagate a news story faster and more efficiently than offline media audiences. While Twitter is a leading venue for news propagation, the previous research doesn’t begin to examine how news is being spread through alternate social media (like Facebook or Google+), comments on message boards, emails, and other online platforms.

PRODUCTION

Traditional news media has always faced the challenge of creating local content that audiences will care about. Audience fragmentation has created a demand for greater diversity in news stories and hyper-localization (Maier, 2010). While online news fills that role, consumers want deeper coverage. Through online venues, consumers are beginning to produce content to fill the gaps in reporting.

Whether creating news content or submitting original content to news organizations, citizen journalism is becoming more established. As of 2014, the Pew Research Center found that 7% of US adults are producing user-generated content with another 7% submit their content to news organizations (Olmstead,Mitchell, Holcomb, & Vogt, 2014). Contrasting this with international findings, a study was performed in Sweden that found citizen journalism is on decline; with comments and blog links becoming less frequent (Karlsson, Bergstrom, Clerwall, & Fast, 2015). The Swedish study admits shortcomings as it largely deals with blogging and surveyed only Swedish participants. Ultimately, the findings in the Swedish research rings false. The Pew Research Center conducted a study in 2012 that found 39% of the top news videos on Youtube were user-generated content (Pew Research Center Journalism & Media Staff, 2012).

PARTICIPATION

If the purpose of journalism is to create a better informed public than an audience that engages in civic participation must be its fruition of that purpose. Compared to traditional media, a study found that online news consumers are more likely to join in civic engagement and political participation (Bachmann & Zuniga, 2015). The authors of this saw online news audiences’ capability to propagate and create content fostered a positive climate for civic participation.

An earlier study compared and contrasted professional and citizen journalism’s audiences likelihood of civic engagement. Two interesting findings was that citizen journalism fosters online civic participation and that consumers with a higher trust in citizen journalism are more likely to participate in politics (Kaufhold, Valenzuela, & Zuniga, 2010). This supports the idea that online news audiences are more likely to engage civically and politically.

One of the best events to study the relationship between online news audiences and their level of civic participation is the Arab Spring of 2011. In contrast to the past articles, a study in 2013 strived to prove that political context precedes social media use, trivializing social media’s role in engagement (Wolfsfeld, Segev, & Sheafer, 2013). I considered this study flawed and the conclusion moot. Of course the political or civic event will precede social media use. Until the event has begun, there is nothing to really share or discuss. The study should have focused on examining the level of participation after social media use. If the previous studies offer any truth, each progressive political event should see larger amounts of participation due to preceding social media use.

QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH

Audiences of online news move beyond being mere consumers through propagation, production, and/or participation. Through taking an active role in journalism, the consumers become producers themselves. Previous studies usually limited research towards specific contexts or audience activities. Hoping to gain insight into the audience’s roles in creating content, I created a survey to examine online news consumers’ contributions to news stories. My research question is, “How frequently are online news consumers participating in journalism?”

METHODOLOGY

To answer this question, I conducted a survey utilizing the website, kwiksurveys.com. This was beneficial as it was easy to use, offered many report options, and was free of cost. All of this made it an effective tool for conducting online quantitative research.

While designing the survey, my independent variable was consumption of online news. The dependent variables were propagation of online news, production of online news, and civic participation. While the survey only included a single straight forward inquiry about participation in civic engagement, multiple questions were used to measure participants’ levels of propagation and production of online news content.

The survey was constructed with 15 questions. Of the 15, four served as demographic questions and the remainder related to determining online news consumption patterns. These questions included inquiries about viewing habits, likelihood of interactions with news content, viability of creating news content, and the likelihood of participating in civic engagement. I pretested the questionnaire by doing the survey, myself, and removing my results from the data.

To recruit my candidates, I utilized two online social circles. My first pool of potential participants was my email contacts at Oklahoma Baptist University. This was comprised of approximately 40 college-age students. An email was sent asking for volunteers to complete the survey. The second contact group was via my near 100 Facebook contacts. The majority of those contacts are between the ages of 30-60. Of those two groups, I had 28 participants respond to the survey.

RESEARCH RESULTS

The initial four questions of the survey asked about gender, age, education, and income level. 54% of the respondents were female, with the remaining 46% being male. At 39%, the majority of the participants were between the ages of 18-24 with 55+ being the second largest age demographic, at 18%. The highest education level completed by the bulk respondents, at 46%, was a Highschool Diploma but the remaining 54%, as a whole, had earned some degree of higher education. The annual household incomes of the participants was split evenly with 50% making less than $50,000 and 50% making more than $50,000.

50% of the survey’s participants indicated their primary online news source is a professional media website, such as CNN.com or BBC.com (See Figure 1). Social media was used by 36%. The remaining 14% comprised of apps, citizen journalism, or no response. Regardless of news source, the participants indicated their preference for national and local news at 39% and 37%, respectively (See Figure 2). The rest of the respondents prefered to view topical news, such as sports or entertainment. 89% of the particpants also indicated some likelihood of seeking deeper coverage by watching embedded videos or clicking links to related subject matter.

Figure 1

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Figure 2

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When asked about additional viewing habits, 76% answered they view online news at least once a day with 36% of the total respondents specifying they view more twice a day. The participants were equally divided when asked what device they viewed online news on. 50% utilized PCs and 50% used a mobile device.

The surveyed online news audiences indicated a higher amount will share online news content than will post online comments about it. 61% of the participants said they would, at some level, share the online news content compared to 29% who answered they would post comments on the news stories (See Figure 3). Of that 29%, only one participant indicated they would comment on news content but not propagate it with others.

Figure 3

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In regards to viewing online news on social media, 50% of the respondents favored Facebook, making it the top choice (See Figure 4). The second largest majority, at 29%, used Twitter. Beyond 11% indicating no use of social media for news, the remaining participants indicated using other social media platforms.

Figure 4

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Participants were asked if they created any user-generated news content, such as blogging, taking photos, or shooting video. In addition, they were asked if they ever had online discussions about online news content. 68% responded they do not produce any content or engage in any online disucssions (See Figure 5). The remaining 32% indicated they do take part in creating original online news content and discussing news online.

Figure 5

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The final question asked online news audiences of their level of civic engagement. 54% indicated some level of civic participation with 46% saying they do not. Only one participatn responded they frequently participate with the remainder of the 54% responding they only participate sometimes.

RESEARCH DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION

Reviewing the results, there was a significant amount of journalistic participation by the online news consumers. Almost two-thirds of the respondents were active, at some level, in propagating news stories. Nearly a third, were engaged in online news content production or discussions of news stories. Over half the respondents participated in civc engagement. In totality, the results show that this group of online news consumers is very active in contributing to online journalism. The

In comparison to previous articles on the propagation of news, the survey results correlated to findings of how news stories rapidly spread. With 61% of the respondents sharing online content, news stories dramatically increase in viewership due to the high-level of propagation found among online news consumers.

According to the 2014 State of the Media by the Pew Research Center ((Olmstead,Mitchell, Holcomb, & Vogt, 2014), 14% of US adults either post user-generated content or submit to news organizations. My research indicated online news content production by 29% of the participants. With the majority of the respondents being 18-24, it stands to reason that younger online news audiences are more likely to produce original news content.

This study’s primary shortcoming is the participation pool was small and did not accurately reflect current US census data. In addition, the survey was limited to broad definitions of online news consumption and participation. Further research would need to provide a more in-depth analysis to establish a better cross-section of how online news consumers participate in journalism. I believe this is absolutely needed as previous studies only look at individual elements of audiences’ engagement rather than the totality of their behavior.

In conclusion, I found that online news audiences are very engaged with the product. Whether through sharing, creating content, or being motivated to participate, online news viewers show they are capable of more than just consuming. In correlation with past research, my study shows news organizations need to go beyond talking to their viewers and strive to talk with them. The consumers are increasingly becoming the producers and journalism is becoming more open-source.

Referernces

Maireder, A., Schlogl, S. (2014). 24 Hours of an #outcry: The Networked Publics of a Socio-Political Debate. European Journal of Communication, 29(6), 687-702.

Bonilla, Yarimar., Rosa, Jonathan. (2015). #Ferguson: Digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and the racial politics of social media in the United States. American Ethnologist. 42 (1). 4-17.

Al-Rawi, A. (2014). The Arab Spring and Online Protests in Iraq. International Journal of Communication, 8(2014), 916-942.

Maier, S. (2010). All the News Fit to Post? Comparing News Content on the Web to Newspapers, Television, and Radio. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 87(3-4), 548-562

Olmstead, Kenneth., Mitchell, Amy., Holcomb, Jesse., Vogt, Nancy. (2014). News Video on the Web: The Audience for Digital News Videos. The Pew Research Center: Journalism & Media. 26 March 2014. Web. 3 April 2015. http://www.journalism.org/2014/03/26/the-audience-for-digital-news-videos/

Karlsson, Michael. Bergstrom, Annika., Clerwall, Christer., Fast, Karin. (2015). Participatory journalism – the (r)evolution that wasn’t. Content and user behavior in Sweden 2007-2013. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

Pew Research Center: Journalism & Media Staff. (2012). Youtube & News. The Pew Research Center: Journalism & Media. 16 July 2012. Web. 3 April 2015. http://www.journalism.org/2012/07/16/youtube-news/

Bachmann, I., Zuniga, H. (2013). News Platform Preference as a Predictor of Political and Civic Participation. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 19(4), 496-512.

Kaufhold, K., Valenuela, S., Zuniga, Homero. (2010). Citizen Journalism and Democracy: How User-Generated News Use Relates to Political Knowledge and Participation. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 87(3-4), 515-529

Wolfsfeld, G., Segev, Elad., Sheafer, T. (2013). Social Media and the Arab Spring: Politics Comes First. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 18(2), 115-137.

Twas the Night Before Spring Semester

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Twas the night before Spring semester when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring except my computer mouse

The syllabi were stacked in my briefcase with care

In hopes that in classrooms students would be there.

The students were nervously fidgeting in their dorms

With visions of quizzes, exams, and add-drop forms.

I pounding the laptop instead of good sleep

As I retype corrupted lesson plans, wanting to weep

When all of a sudden I see an alarm ignored for an hour

My laptop’s charger is missing and I’m low on power.

Away to my briefcase I flew like a flash

Ran into a chair and tripped on my sash

As I fell howling, grasping my knee

I recall I live in Edmond and my charger’s in Shawnee

I scramble back to my bed in a furious rave

Its too late, my computer dead, I forget to save.

Defeated, I pondered upon my unfortunate lots

Oh well, first day of class, I’ll just get them donuts.

Thou Shall Not Lie: A Brief Reflection on Ethics and Research

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It was April of 2009. I had just started my 2-month missionary bootcamp before deploying to the Middle East. During this training I heard all about how many wonderful ways I could get persecuted, imprisoned, or killed for being a missionary. While that certainly could create fear enough to lie in situations, it was always stressed that deceit cannot be used if you want to tell the truth. How can the Gospel spread if its messengers use deceit?

In journalism and research, truth and lies can’t share the same space. Deceit taints the end product. As I say this, I make the distinction between deceit and concealment. I have no ethical issues with concealment. If I participated in a report, I may want my responses or identity concealed but not lied about. On the other end, I wouldn’t want to be lied to, either. If I am part of a study that researches anxiety, let me know. Don’t lie about what I’m being tested for. When deceit is used, the variables become unreliable. Millions of variations of thoughts and actions can occur from what I understand to be reality. How does that make for accurate responses if my reality is false? Deceit directly lets the someone manipulate my reactions to meet his/her desired outcomes. While concealment will still yield different results from open revelation, at least my responses will be based on a reality I created from truth rather than lies. If the end goal is truth, truth must be embraced. I don’t necessarily need to know all the details or what is the full objective of the report or study. However, I must have truth if my reactions are to be accurate.

To bookend my response with my mission experience, I did learn about concealment in training. I learned Christ never deceived but did conceal. He never once stated to be the Son of God. He knew this would be taken as validation for the Pharisees’ charges of blasphemy. Instead, when confronted with the question, “Are you then the Son of God,” He replied, “You say that I am.” He deflected the question and answered at the same time. When I finally went to mission field, I learned that claiming to be a Christian was understood as someone who drank, hired prositutes, loved war, and hated anyone that wasn’t like them. The term Christian was a very inaccurate and often dangerous label to identify with. When I would be asked if I was a Christian, I learned to conceal but not deceive. I would reply, “I am a follower of Isa (Jesus).” This would be accepted as a good thing and open doors for the Gospel.

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Tales from an Ethical Hacker

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multimedia01-8262013Many have already started their Christmas shopping but who can forget last year’s holiday season. Target suffered a major hack that stole debit and credit data for around 40 million accounts. This year has seen several major hacks. Around February, 233 million user on Ebay had their information stolen. During the summer, Healthcare.gov had a security breach. In September, Home Depot warned that 56 million accounts were at risk due to hacking. August saw hacker access and distribute hundreds of personal photos of celebrities on the website 4chan. And just last week, a hacker group called Guardians of Peace targeted Sony Pictures. In addition, to sending threatening messages to Sony employees, the group stole an estimated 100 terrabytes of sensitive data from the company.

MAJOR CYBER ATTACKS OF 2014

 00113.mp4.Still001There are certainly those online who aim to do harm. These malicious hackers, called black hats, work alone or in groups tosteal finances, information, or just create chaos. However, the government and private companies have found the best way to combat black hats is with ethical hackers, also known as white hats. This digital warfare is fought between black and white hats online, everyday.

Sources:

Zetter, K. “Sony Got Hacked: What We Know and Don’t Know So Far”. Wired. Published December 3, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2014/12/sony-hack-what-we-know/ on December 6, 2014.

Wallace, G. “Target Credit Card Hack: What You Need to Know”. CNN. Published December 23, 2013. Retrieved from  http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/22/news/companies/target-credit-card-hack/ on December 6, 2014.

Lipka, M. “56 Million Accounts at Risk in Home Depot Hack”. CBS News. Published September 18, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/56-million-accounts-at-risk-in-home-depot-hack/ on December 6, 2014.

Yardon, D. “Hacker Breaced Healthcare.gov Insurance Site.” Wall Street Journal. Published September 4, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/hacker-breached-healthcare-gov-insurance-site-1409861043 on December 6, 2014.

Arthur, C. “Naked Celebrity Hack: Security Experts Focus on iCloud Backup Theory”. The Guardian. Published September 1, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/01/naked-celebrity-hack-icloud-backup-jennifer-lawrence on December 6, 2014.

10 Commandments’ Future Remains Unclear

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24176535_SAThe future of a controversial Oklahoma monument continues to be debated. Oklahoma Rep. Mike Ritze sponsored a bill in 2009 to have a 10 commandments display installed on the State Capitol’s grounds. His family privately funded the memorial, which was finally erected in November of 2012.

Rep. Mike Ritze speaks about newly installed 10 commandments monument

Despite Oklahoma being firmly in the Bible belt, the display has received numerous complaints. Organizations like American Civil Liberties Union and American Atheists have filed lawsuits in response to the placement of the memorial. The ACLU states in their petition they, “declare the placement of the Ten Commandments Monument to be in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution, and as such, an illegal appropriation of public property in support of religion.”

ACLU files suit to remove 10 commandments monument

In addition, various religious organizations have sought equality by having monuments erected representing their beliefs. A New York Satanist group known as the Satanic Temple has crowd funded and lobbied for their own statue to be installed. Similarly, the Universal Society of Hinduism applied for the installment of a Hindu god monument.

Satanist group unveils design for Oklahoma State capitol monument

Hindu organization applies for memorial to be built Oklahoma State capitol grounds

The controversy over the 10 commandments and religious monuments has sparked discussion over the separation of faith and the State. An Oklahoma district judge dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit that the display was unconstitutional. The ACLU disagrees with the ruling. The organization is now taking their appeal to Oklahoma’s Supreme Court.

While the debate surrounding the 10 commandments monument still stands, the statue does not. Last month, the memorial was dramatically destroyed in a bizarre act of vandalism.

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Churches offer family friendly Halloween activities

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It was Halloween night and hundreds of families were going to church. Scores of princesses, superheroes, and even an Ebola victim lined up for candy and games. Dressed as Superman, I passed out Bibles next to a plinko board, one of several fair games setup. These children were skipping traditional trick-or-treating to, instead, visit Trunk-or-Treat.

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Photo by Sarah Draper

Halloween at Edmond First Baptist Church was a unique contrast to the activities I remember of my youth. I recall memories of shuffling along poor lit neighborhoods, knocking on strangers’ doors, and always being slightly scared of what might happen. The news never made it any easier. Leading up to Halloween, I would hear reports of poisoned candy, child abductions, and other terrifying crimes. EFBC’s Trunk-or-Treat was the celebration I wished I had when I was younger. It was safe, well lit, and had more candy than a kid could hope for.

Greeting each child at the plinko game, Jeremy Duffle helped orchestrate Trunk-or-Treat. While this was his first time at the event, Jeremy heard of the growing trend among churches to provide a trick-or-treat alternative, “A lot of churches are offering this now as kind of a safe haven to bring their families and their kids in, to basically bypass the strange neighborhood or scary dark corner aspect of trick-or-treating.”

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Photo by Sarah Draper

EFBC was certainly not alone in providing family friendly Fall events. Houses of worship across the country are reaching out to neighborhoods with fall festivals and Halloween night activities. In the Oklahoma City Metro, many churches opened themselves up to their communities.

  • Douglas Boulevard United Methodist Church hosted its own Trunk-or-Treat.
  • Putnam City Baptist Church sponsored FestiFall, a similar event with games and candy.
  • Mayfair Heights United Methodist Church held a Fall Festival featuring a craft show and bake sell. 

(Source: NewsOK)

“What it’s doing is it’s giving our people, the people of this church, an avenue to reach out to those that they would never come in contact with before. It gave us a blank canvas to reach a lot of different people and in a very safe setting,” Jeremy said.

Safety is a major concern for many during Halloween night. Unfortunately, this Halloween saw the tragic deaths and injuries of children across the country. One incident in California led to the death of three teenage girls when struck by an SUV (Source: ABC). Another vehicular accident in California left a father dead and his son injured (Source: LA Times).

At EFBC’s Trunk or Treat, there were no fast moving cars. Police were present. Dozens of caring volunteers kept watch. Children orderly went from activity to activity. I observed hundreds of families attending. They were enjoying themselves and carefree. They were happy and safe. Jeremy agrees, “I think it went really well. We had a huge turnout.”

Trick-or-treating remains as traditional to Halloween as Jack-O-Lanterns and candy apples. However, churches are finding new ways to give families a safe atmosphere for costumed fun. Trunk-or-Treat and other Fall festivals are relevant ways for churches to give back to the communities they are in. The compassion of churches opening their doors will ripple throughout the surrounding neighborhoods, giving further opportunities to touch lives. As I watched children walking away with candy and a new Bible, I sensed that this small blessing of loving thy neighbor could have a tremendous impact in each child’s life.

 

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Sources:

Duffle, Jeremy. Personal Interview. November 2nd, 2014

Staff Reports. (2014, Oct. 25). Oklahoma City-area churches offer festivals and other fall activities. Retrieved November 2nd, 2014 from http://newsok.com/oklahoma-city-area-churches-offer-festivals-and-other-fall-activities/article/5359417

Pierce, Harold. (2014, Nov. 4). Halloween crash victim was Irvine lawyer, devoted father. Retrieved November 4th, 2014 from http://www.latimes.com/local/orangecounty/la-me-11-05-irvine-halloween-20141105-story.html 

Dillon, Raquel Maria. (2014, Nov. 4). Man charged in Hit-Run Halloween Deaths of 3 Teens. Retrieved November 4th, 2014 from http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/girls-13-killed-halloween-mourned-family-26670726

#BeMoreDigital

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Last week, I had the pleasure to attend OBEA’s Student Day held at OETA. I was greatly impressed by the presentation on the growth of digital content by OETA’s own digital/social media producers. Their works apire to change PBS’s image of being old-fashioned and attract millenials with technology/pop culture content via online videos. Their digital content strategy was presented under the hashtag “BeMoreDigital.”

I read articles about how different local TV stations utilize digital content. The biggest take away is that there are no hard rules. We are all pilgrims in a new land. Some stations utilize social media and digital content for promoting the brand or main content platform (broadcast, newspaper, etc). Others are creating innovating original content that suppliments other works. Neither is right or wrong but both need to happen to be effective.

In the early 2000’s, it was said that we were in a culture of two screens. We watched TV and surfed the net simultaneously. For a rather recent term, we are already beyond that. We are now in the era of three screens. The smartphone has joined the family.

Its the State of the Union. I watch the president speak live from my television. I read live commentaries from political analysts on news sites. I tweet followers and read tweets by the public. I am monitoring and dialoguing on multiple platforms to get a deeper understanding.

Depth. That is what is being desired with digital content. Audiences may see traditional journalism platforms as too 2-dimensional. According to the Pew Research Center, 82% of Americans were getting news from computers with 54% saying they received it from mobile devices in 2013. Digital content allows more immediate and deeper coverage of stories. Check cnn.com. Articles often feature a video below the header, story highlights on the side, and additional hyperlinked content throughout the piece. This gives a consumer to gain a deeper understanding than a newscast would allow. Even twitter’s limited 140 characters allows video, photos, and links to be incorporated. Audiences want depth and digital content does that.

News organizations and Digital Media companies already recognize this. The Pew Research Center indicates a significant hiring boom with many Digital News organizations like Vice, Mashable, and the Huffington Post. Even traditional news outlets are training and hiring journalists who can produce and post digital content. These media companies understand that surviving means being more digital.

Creating exclusive content is one of the strongest ways of being more digital. Utilizing social media for promotions and engaging the audience is good but what is most attractive is adding depth. OETA started several digital programs like the “Idea Channel,” and “The Okie Nerd Geekcast.” I’ve seen some local stations post content during the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” that swept the nation. News organizations post exclusive reporter packages, full-length interviews, behind-the-scenes segments, and other content on digital platforms.

As the faculty advisor for a student-run TV station, I reflect on digital strategy I could employ. News 30 is the weekly cable access news program, run by students at Oklahoma Baptist University, for the city of Shawnee. With only one newscast per week, I see great applications of the challenge to be more digital. I envision daily 3-5 minute newscasts, exclusive reporter packages, spotlights on local residents and organizations. I believe that embracing digital content allows for hyper-local journalism that a community will gather around. I look forward to its implementation at OBU.

I do not ring the death bell for traditional journalism venues. Research, actually, shows their growth. I do recognize that new platforms are available and these platforms have an audience. For journalists to continue to engage the public with news, we need to get online. We need to #bemoredigital.