There is no way but to use social media and social networks in implementing convergence in the newsroom. It is not anymore a choice, it is already a must.
The phenomenal rise of social networks makes convergence easier. Newsrooms can now easily connect with field reporters, editors can now engage with the audience, and consumers of news share what they read or watch to friends.
With social networks, people consume information faster. Information becomes viral, but at the same time fleeting. With tons of information bombarded on people every minute, there is less time to digest the essence of a story or report.
There is danger in being too fast. One may not be able to watch out for the potholes on the road. And crashing is harder if one is on top speed.
Social media and social networks, as well as convergence, are tools that can be used in delivering information to consumers, and at the same time connect one media platform to another.
The information, the story, is, however, still priority.
Social media and social networks make convergence in journalism easier, but it must also be used responsibly.
Crowd sourcing, for instance, is easier with the use of Twitter or Facebook. But are the reactions of people on FB or Twitter reflective of the sentiments of the bigger population?
Journalism is supposed to deliver fair and balanced stories to inform the public so that they may be able to reach an informed decision. Are stories sourced solely on views and statements from blogs and social media networks enough to come up with a fair and balanced story?
Or, do ordinary people really care about stories or issues that are popular online, like the impeachment of the chief justice in the Philippines?
We do not want media, or societies, to be ruled only by those who have access to mobile gadgets or the internet or those who use social networks.
These are some issues that must be taken into consideration when using social media and social networks in coming up with a “converged” newsroom.