Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?
Based in Detroit, Michigan, Jason Shubnell is the Managing Editor at finance and investing news hub Benzinga. He began his career as a writer for student-run Grand Central Magazine before graduating from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. He went on to secure bylines as a writer for NFL news startup EndzoneNews.com and several other Detroit-based websites before joining Benzinga in 2013.
Benzinga’s unique visitors grew by 237% in 2020, and Shubnell remains rewarded by trying to stay on top of what readers want while introducing those readers to the entire Benzinga ecosystem (Benzinga Pro, Benzinga Money, Events and much more).
What advice would you give to aspiring young writers and reporters?
JS: Never get sick of learning. Don’t be afraid to call, text, tweet, email or say hello to a new source/contact. Do your best to discern between fact and spin.
What learnings have made a tremendous difference in your career?
JS: Constantly reminding myself “what’s the story?” helps to keep me grounded. Stock moves happen by the second and having an answer to that question makes for sharper reporting and smarter writing. The most important thing is to build and keep the trust of your readers.
What are you hearing from your colleagues about their ambitions and hopes for the profession?
JS: The importance of news organizations was made crystal clear this past year. As both print and online publications shrink or die altogether, many talk about the need for business models that support the costs of news gathering, which will allow the industry to evolve.
What do you think about the role of technology in journalism? Is it helpful? harmful? Something in between?
JS: I think it’s somewhere in the middle. Smartphones, video, social feeds, etc. all give us different avenues to reach our readers and to bring in new readers. The growth of Benzinga’s YouTube presence and Twitter following over the second half of 2020 brought in a whole new audience we previously weren’t speaking to directly.
Social media has upended the traditional media landscape. One of the great challenges it creates is authenticity and malevolent actors. How do think journalists and reporters should deal with the rising tide of misinformation?
JS: Social media has really upped the ante of “citizen journalism.” It’s amazing that anybody can share whatever they want with just a few finger taps, but I think many of us have lost the ability to sit and think critically about what we just watched or read. Get your news outside of your Facebook feed and doom-scrolling Twitter. We all need more time to marinate about what’s happening around us.