How Has the Internet Changed Journalism and Its Relation to the Public ?

Topics: Jan Moir, Newspaper, The Guardian Pages: 5 (2063 words) Published: October 14, 2012
Media Analysis essay 2

How has the Internet changed journalism and its relation to the public? Discuss and evaluate what happens to news and information in the digital age, by analyzing TWO case studies of online journalism, citizen journalism or blogging. For most of us, using the Internet has become as easy as reaching for our pocket and grabbing our smart phones. Our need to have immediate access to news, social networks, “clouds”, and maybe even our own blogging site has become increasingly bigger. We now want to do everything everywhere, access all areas and let our friends know about it. In the past 15 years, technology has advanced at such a fast pace that we can now do all of these things and more. But just how have these technological advances changed journalism? Newspapers had to adapt to these technological advances or they would face harsh consequences for not keeping up with the times. Porting their daily content over to the Web meant that they could meet our need for immediacy and portability, and as the name denotes, the World Wide Web is accessible worldwide which means that regardless of the location we are at, we can access content that was previously only available locally. We no longer have to be on location in order to buy a newspaper and read news from a particular area or region; we can access it online. In the same way that TV changed to meet our demands, by moulding itself around us, we can choose what types of news we want to read, and which we don’t want to, by selecting the filters provided in some of the news sites available. Newspapers now need headlines that have a newsstand appeal, whilst the online version can be updated throughout the day and refreshed as many times as necessary. “The digital age journalist has to become a specialist who knows how to search for information on the Web and turn it into news” (Herbert, 2000: p.3). Gone are the days of spreadsheets and heavy word processing, as the Internet provides journalists with endless possibilities for research, from different news sources, to highly customizable search strategies. This is particularly useful when publishing digitally, as the turnaround times need to be shortened in order to meet demands, however, facts must be checked and verified, as the Internet is open to anyone, and they can write just about anything. Social networks are another important source of information, as people tweet anything they have seen or heard throughout the day, sometimes even rumours, and journalists are challenged by the immediacy in which information is exchanged online, and its accuracy or veracity. The Web presents a different approach to issues in which there are no strict regulations, making it more malleable and prone to speculation, whilst the press is regulated (PCC, NUJ), and this presents different challenges. An example of one of these challenges was the famous super injunction case between the footballer Ryan Giggs and a reality TV star, barring the press from taking this to the headlines and online, and gagging the TV star from talking to the press. Initially, The Sun published some of the super injunction stories, omitting the details that they were not allowed to disclose, with stories including several celebrities, and details of their sexual escapades. Other newspapers followed on this and cleverly presented it to the public, giving us an idea of what was happening, without disclosing too much information. In the meantime, the blogosphere was awash with rumours, and names were being exchanged throughout different sites. It wasn’t until a user called “Billy Jones” (Jones, 2011) named the footballer through Twitter (among many other celebrities who had taken out super injunctions) that the whole case fully took off in the press, making it one of the most talked about topics of 2011, mainly with the press questioning freedom of speech, and later developing into a more serious discussion over a “two-track” legal system- one would...
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