The Future of Journalism article discusses the growing trends in journalism and examines the current crisis it is currently in. Traditional newspapers are closing and many believe this signals the end of journalism as we know it.
However, some people think the so-called crisis journalism is in might be the best thing to ever happen to it.
Some consider this crisis as a sort of “purgative”. They believe the financial problems and sacking of journalists cleanses the field. Radical millenarians, as James Curran calls them, believe traditional news media only serves to promote the “overdog” and is a threat to true democracy. With traditional journalism being challenged, an opportunity is born for more progressive reporting to begin that were unable to gain footing when leading media conglomerates controlled the field.
More liberal journalism educators believe we are experiencing a news media renaissance for several reasons.
- Old media journalism is only being enriched by the Internet. Journalists now have easy access to lots of information they were unable to so freely find before and can incorporate more news sources into their stories.
- Web-based journalism is seeing an “efflorescence” as a result of the Internet. Bloggers, citizen journalists, and Web-based start-ups are a good thing. With more people reporting news, there will be more information and analysis as 3opposed to the monopoly created by old news media.
- Old and new journalism will come together to create a pro-am (professional-amateur partnership”. This leads to network journalism where members of the public help create the stories. Instead of news coming from only gatekeeper institutions, it is now more open-ended and reciprocal.
This has led to a paradigm shift of news reporting from an industrial model to a networked model based on individual and organized journalistic practices. Media conglomerates do not determine the news anymore in a top-down fashion; the public does in a bottom-up form through the Internet.
The shift in journalism also has affected advertising. Since people are starting to get their news online more than from the newspaper or TV, Internet advertising is dominating because of how cheap and far-reaching it can be.
The article also touches on the fact that traditional journalism is not always as accurate as many believe it to be, considering journalists have to write to short deadlines and report on things they may not be experts on. Curran uses the example of the reason the U.S. invaded Iraq because of the possibility of Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction. Since it was widely accepted by official leaders at the time, the news media did not scrutinize this claim as critically as they could have.
- Do you believe journalism is moving in a positive direction where ordinary people have the power to shape the future, or is this shift away from traditional news norms a bad thing?
- What are some of the ways that we as members of the public could play a part in creating the news?
The Pew Center article summarized the ways that people are getting their news online. It has been shown that most Americans get some kind of news online during a typical day, but there is confusion in how best to measure the count. What is the most important way to measure it? Is it the total amount of unique visitors, the number of page views, time per visit, etc.?
Online news is continually moving forward. Many people now get news on their cell phones and even use social networking sites for news. New forms of communication are constantly being taken advantage of by people who want to get their news in the easiest, most convenient way.
As the public moves ahead with their quest to find news in different ways, players in the media sector are trying to figure out whether to work together or stay competitive. Americans are using digital technology to acquire news from several different platforms. These people are called “news grazers” who graze from online to TV to print to find news.
Economic models are being questioned as news media organizations are trying to figure out the best way to replace revenue lost from other sectors. Many sites are online only, and direct users to news instead of providing it themselves. The difference between popularity and social importance is a complicated and relevant issue that news organizations are trying to solve.
- How do you get your news? Has the way you find news changed in the last few years, months, weeks, etc? How?
Clay Shirky focuses on the prevalence of “user generated content” from social media sites in his book Here Comes Everybody. Shirky states that this is not “just the output of ordinary people with access to creative tools like word processors…it requires access to re-creative tools as well…that provide those same people with the ability to distribute their creations to others” (83). He cites Livejournal, Youtube, Myspace, Flickr, and Xanga as examples.
While I wouldn’t necessarily consider this to be “online journalism,” Shirky does provide a good foundation for further exploring said journalism. He juxtaposes the “neatness of traditional media” vs. “messiness of social media,” which I feel is the exact combination of these popular online journalism sites (96).