Over the past decade, the media industry has changed dramatically because of social media. Blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts have enabled writers who previously would have had little or no voice in mainstream media to express their diverse points of view. This has made a reporter out of anyone who wants to be one.
Yes – I know – the topic of social media as the biggest change of the decade is cliché and overused, but it is a topic that hits close to home. I grew up in Kathryn, North Dakota, a small farming town with a population of 60. This town is too small to be on any reporter’s radar screen, and the nearest newspaper is in a community 20 miles away. Kathryn doesn’t even have its own Web site.
When the town and farms in the area were threatened by major flooding in April 2009, getting the latest news from Kathryn was actually fairly easy – thanks to Facebook. Residents and those of us with family in the area received reliable news and photos through Facebook updates – something that was not possible ten years ago.
In 2010, no community is too remote for news anymore. Because of Facebook, Twitter, and other interactive Web sites, rural America is more connected to the population centers that distribute and consume news.