Laura Furney, a Wamego High School Senior, was the first recipient of The Smoke Signal Scholarship awarded through the Wamego Community Foundation.
The scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior from Wamego High School attending a post secondary school majoring in journalism or mass communications. Special consideration is given to those participating in yearbook or the school newspaper.
Furney plans to attend the University of Kansas’ School of Journalism in the fall.
Part of the scholarship is to write an essay on “The Role of Journalism in the Digital Age”. Furney’s winning essay follows.
Joel Simon once wrote in the CPJ report, “Journalism is a manifestation of a basic human urge to know and to communicate our knowledge to others.” The amount of journalists and communication has increased as digital media expands. This expansion of the digital age has had such an overpowering effect that it is no longer what journalism’s role in technology is, rather what role technology plays in journalism. The internet is now also a catalyst for the news, because of thousands of opinionated bloggers and citizen reporters.
Often when tuning into the Today Show, FOX, or CNN there will be a report on some sort of post on the internet, or video on Youtube. They cite and reference the information found on social media sites. For example, if it wasn’t for websites teen fans of punk rock would not have known that My Chemical Romance has broken up. Journalists pick up these stories to continue the publications. Therefore, the digital age has begun to control not only how, but what journalists are reporting.
Bloggers have begun to rule the internet. Many writers create their own website to express their ideas, recipes, and opinions; starting their own form of journalism. Stories, editorials, and instructional blogs are an amateur’s new way of communicating. A.J. Leibling once said, “Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.” The digital age allows everyone who owns a computer to have his or her own printing press. Allocating for some to advance to a new inspirational kind of journalism across the globe.
It is extremely difficult for U.S. journalists to travel safely into dangerous war zones and foreign rebellions. Although, thanks to citizen reporters, citizens that record and post the proceedings of these countries, the world receives updates on the current events. These journalists show bravery in the face of persecution to encourage action or understanding from the governments around the world. The growth of technology has helped them by lessening the complications of exposing information.
Journalism has evolved and grown, adapting to the changes and challenges of the digital age. The role of technology in reporting encourages citizens and those who have something to say to rise up and have a voice. Joel Simon’s view of journalism thrives in the digital age as writers adjust to communicate in a larger, modern way.