Journalistic Civility

How do the Big Names hear our little voices??

When discussing user empowerment in relation to the internet we readily see the effect on industry and the effect on the audience.  We see the shift to “prosumers” where anyone has the power of production because of social networking and open media platforms. Within looking at these effects we see the consequential effect on other facets that rely on audience views. Content based industry like the news relies on content to draw audience. With the same content available online for free and from multiple, corroborative sources means that the news’ power dynamic is changing.

Mark Stencel (Managing Editor of NPR’s Digital News) said that online news wasn’t a problem initially because the access to the internet and online sources was not easily portable. It is with the production of portable devices with constant internet access that the real power dynamic has shifted greatly. This is evident with the number of apps that are news based, newspapers online, and the reduction of traditional print mediums. However, John Ryley (Head of Sky News) remains optimistic about the role of traditional news, simply saying that the delivery method will continue to evolve across platforms “in a format that works best for the consumer” but the need for the big name news sources will continue to exist.

While these particular methods allow the “Big Names” to stay in control of content and therefore still have power in the dynamic the use of social networking has given rise to civilian journalism and less conventional sources which sees a shift in content control. The flawed fact is that anyone can publish which puts information credibility and reliability in question.

In some ways the change from traditional sources to online content and the rise of civilian journalism had been a liberating experience. Glenn Beck, (CEO of Mercury Radio Arts) believes his changing dynamic of consumption and production of news is a positive because it is revealing stories that “the media gatekeepers either finds disinteresting or is afraid to report.” Online information and civilian journalism allowed for the Libyan Revolution, and we see examples of information leaking out from under China’s stringent control.  Erin Burnett (CNN Anchor) suggests that while citizen journalists have now got a louder voice are also providing room for “traditional journalists to seek out in-depth stories.” The idea of coexistence is really the only available option for the news industry because of the escalating rate of the public getting their news online where information is easily accessible for free.

So while the quality of civil journalism can be deemed refutable the ability to corroborate sources and view the whole picture online is what draws attention. There is a change in the dynamics of the flow of news content because of new media platforms, However, for the moment at least, news stations are still managing to keep a hold on the industry.


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