AI and Social Media thrive, Does Journalism Die?

Are you majoring in communications? Yikes, good luck! While digital news readership is steadily increasing, it is not increasing nearly enough to offset the decrease in print newspaper distribution and readership. According to the Pew Research Center, digital news site visits have increased from around 8.2 million in 2014 to 13.8 million in 2020, but print newspapers have seen a massive decline from their peak readership in 1973 at 63.1 million. As of 2013, their circulation was at 40.7 million and still rapidly declining. It is hard to deny the statistics, but why is journalism dying at a time when people need it most? In a world of corruption, dishonesty, and politics, authentic journalism should be flourishing. Instead of true success and respect to the field, social media posts from TikTok and instagram are deemed our most trusted and respected source of news. 


Journalism is a business of the people. Its humble origins come from the mission and desire of allowing people to know what is going on in their world. Press is the backbone of our society—our rights to press are explicitly stated in the first amendment—so how can we just let something that is part of our history die so suddenly?


“Humans hunger for news. We want knowledge beyond what we can gather using our own senses. We want narratives, facts, events, people, back stories and the ideas from beyond our doors. We want to understand, and we want to escape our isolation. The mass media tries to satisfy this hunger” (A History of Journalism). 


Humans have an innate desire for honest, authentic, and persuasive journalism. The principles and cores of communication show up in one of the earliest works of Western Literature : The Odyssey. Odysseus’s son is on a quest for his father and has a need for news in order to accomplish this. We see the core values of communication; persuade, transmit, and entertain. Journalism is not just the Sunday newspaper, it is our language. Journalism does not require a set structure, it simply exists for the better of public knowledge. 


As technology advances, so does journalism. Journalism is no longer the paper boy on the sidewalk yelling “papers for sale”; it has evolved to our advantage. As of the 21st century, journalism became available online in just the click of a button. If I were to go onto the internet and search “March 2023 current events” I’d have a million articles in front of me to choose from. People assume due to technology journalism must be thriving, but ironically enough technology has slowly become the downfall of journalism. 

“The media industry is already beginning to experiment with AI-generated content. Tech news site CNET used an AI tool similar to ChatGPT to write dozens of articles — though the publisher has had to issue a number of corrections — and BuzzFeed has used tech from the ChatGPT maker to generate new forms of content like quizzes and travel guides” (ChatGPT may be coming for our jobs. Here are the 10 roles that AI is most likely to replace). 

Technology such as AI has the ability to analyze, collect, and dissect media like no other. This heightened sense for data has quite the upper hand on human intelligence. I’m sure if I were to type on the topic of dying journalism into chatGPT, I would be able to generate a better article than I’ve written here. 

Sooner rather than later, technology was bound to take over the speed of journalism; but real journalism has something that AI will never be able to provide; authenticity and credibility. Real journalists are one of us, and if they are proven to be a trustworthy source of information, we can count on them to always be more authentic than AI. Through interviews, live news, and photojournalism we know the news we are digesting comes straight from the source. 

In order to save journalism, we must remember what journalism is built off of. Journalism’s obligation is to the truth, and its loyalty is to the citizens. In essence, it is a discipline of verification, and citizens, too, have rights and responsibilities when it comes to consuming and verifying news. Most importantly, journalism provides a forum for criticism and compromise. Authentic journalism provides an open door for discussion—it is not just here to explain the facts, but experience them with you. AI is cold, impersonable, and does not provide an empathetic side.

Before we decide to allow journalism to fall to the creation of AI and ChatGTP, think about what is at stake. It is not just someone’s job, it is society’s livelihood as well. Without authentic journalism in its many forms, communication and civilization takes a beating as a whole. It is our language—it’s how we connect. If we allow the world’s most essential forms of the basic human need to communicate to die, what is left for us? Before we label journalism just a boring, old newspaper we must look into the true ethics of what it would mean to live without it. We must save journalism.