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Journalism and Digital Media

By Joerom0 Apr 03, 2012 3567 Words
“Journalism is a noble calling. The working journalist is to report, write, and explain in

accordance with the highest standards of the profession.”

World Journalism Institute

The new age has presented an enhanced transformation to the media industry worldwide, which has been supported by a wealth of digital devices. In the beginning, the creation of the Internet was viewed as unity through technological communication means, yet with the growth of the Internet and the added social media a new stance has made it difficult for traditional media information channels including print and broadcasting. Services offered by Web 2.0 technology have become very accessible due to the social media. The term stated and created by Tim O'Reilly, “Web 2.0”during the O'Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in late 2004 has been "a second generation of the World Wide Web as an “enabling platform for Web-­‐-­‐-­‐based communities of interest, collaboration, and interactive services” according to O’Reilly. In today’s digital age, a journalist should target certain skills social Internet talents that would make he or she prepared for a competitive market in a Web. Those components entail ethics within journalism, a feasible business that should become more familiar with technology, an understanding in participatory journalism, social media management, and establishing a credible reporting reputation with its news consumers.

The high-­‐-­‐-­‐tech interacting of people affects all production and is essentially altering the approaches of all sorts of media firms especially that of print (P. Evan and T.S. Wurster, 1997, pp 4-­‐-­‐-­‐7; C. Shapiro and H.R. Varian, 1999, pp. 1-­‐-­‐-­‐18). Therefore, Newspapers have

attempted a launch at reestablishing itself back into the market, which has forced them to go back to cultivating the relationship with their readership technological means (R.G Picard, 2011 pp.32-­‐-­‐-­‐34). Henceforth, the news firms relocated their physical content to digital delivery system and consumption reduced current industry costs by about half if ending most printing physical circulation (R.G Picard & Brody, 1997). This new circulating platform of information forced most newspapers to rethink a new strategy and implement a change. This new format added a bigger issue to the pot because the business model of Internet advertising demands a large audience of thousands of reliable customers before it can start gaining a significant revenue income. (R.G.Picard, 2011, Digitization and Media Business Models, pp.9-­‐-­‐-­‐11).

In addition, the profession of journalism discovered itself at an unfamiliar instant in history, for the first time, not just with new technologies and business model ineffectiveness, but competition on its control as caretaker of the news. Potentially, by the audiences it serves because journalist within the frame of reference of the planned publication and audience normally shaped news material. A “blogger” also known as “Weblog” is described as an individual who controls the information distributed through the Internet using interactive digital media according to (Peter Merholz, Wikipedia). Peter Merholz at Pyra Labs coined the term “blog”, the term originally was known as "weblog," which was created by Jorn Barger, who Merholz mockingly replaced in April or May 1999 according Ms. Jenna Wortham, online reporter for the wired.com. Additionally, bloggers were equipped with easy-­‐-­‐-­‐to-­‐-­‐-­‐use Web publishing tools, always-­‐-­‐-­‐on connections and increasingly powerful mobile devices, the online audience became an active participant in

the creation and dissemination of news and information. Henceforth, giving birth to a new generation of journalist, who later incorporated the term iReporter’s mentioned on Cable New Network (CNN) is defined as “citizen journalism initiative that allows people from around the globe to contribute pictures and video of breaking news stories from their own towns and neighborhood.” Thus, adding more confusion to the news industry on how to readjust their hold as gatekeepers of information.

Furthermore, given light to a new form of journalism defined below by founder and principal of Socialmedia.biz, a global enterprise, and online journalist and commentator, J.D. Lasica defined "Participatory journalism" as a "slippery creature" but offered a variety of illustrations on local and worldwide news, most of them related with mainstream media helping to depict the news.

“Participatory journalism: The act of a citizen, or group of citizens, playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. The intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-­‐-­‐-­‐ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires.”(We Media, pp. 9)

Also described as a blogger. Traditionally, media firms had regarded the notion of online community no differently than a section of a newspaper or a columnist of a newscast. It is something that has been separated from the news a closed off extension where readers can talk and discuss, as long as the media companies don’t have to be too

journalism helps develop real community around reporters, stories, and the media company’s brand experience. With a weblog, for example, a reporter can place extensive reporting, interact with readers, exercise personal conscience, and share some level of personality that might be absent from his “unbiased” reports reference to the “We Media.” These are elements that would attract real community and establish a good creditable reputation with the news organization. News organizations have spent too much time and efforts trying to position their journalists as more than impartial observers. They have in many ways tried to present them as experts in a field or interpreters of events. However, those efforts can sometimes backfire when being so selective. Therefore, only time can tell of news media is taking the ethical approach to retaking its hold in the business world.

Furthermore, the Internet has not been all-­‐-­‐-­‐bad, the only thing media companies seem to lack in quick adaptation to the new ongoing technological advancements. While digital media and its countless claims give outdated publisher’s new passage for allocating materials to a broader audience, increased revenues have not followed. The three most common revenue models for online news remain subscriptions, advertising, and donations according to “New Trends of Journalism: New Business Models, Media Ownership, and Preserving Editorial Independence .(http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-­‐-­‐-­‐ and-­‐-­‐-­‐information/flagship-­‐-­‐-­‐project-­‐-­‐-­‐activities/world-­‐-­‐-­‐press-­‐-­‐-­‐freedom-­‐-­‐-­‐day/2011-­‐-­‐-­‐themes/new-­‐-­‐-­‐ trends-­‐-­‐-­‐of-­‐-­‐-­‐journalism/)” Thus, while news sites have become more responsive and better able to handle the growing demands of readers and viewers, online communities, personal news, and information sites they are also participating in an increasingly diverse and

important way that, until recently, has operated with significant notice from mainstream media. “Weblogs,” or “blogs” as they are commonly known, are the most active and surprising form of this participation. These new active participant’s have given rise to a phenomenon that shows the markings of a revolution giving anyone with the right talent and energy the ability to be heard far and wide on the Web.

The world of opinion and expert commentary is not restricted to the privileged. But forward-­‐-­‐-­‐looking media companies don’t view that development as a threat. News organizations have the access to resources, which are known as the authority on various subjects. For example, the news media and consumer non-­‐-­‐-­‐profits no longer have a monopoly on serving as a watchdog on government and private industry (L. Forlano & Pelli and Bigelow. pp 82). According to Bowman & Willis (2003), “news media and consumer non-­‐-­‐-­‐profits no longer have a monopoly on serving as a watchdog on government and private industry. Individuals and citizen groups are stepping in to fill the void they believe has been created by lapses in coverage by big media”. In addition, online communities have required transparency of sources and reporting methods due to so much inaccurate information on the Internet. Thus, giving way to expert journalist to emerge through the recognition of their online peers rather than by anointment by the mass media. For example, Glenn Fleishman, a freelance journalist in Seattle, has become one of the world’s leading experts on wireless technology. He uses his weblog to both reports on the latest development in Wi-­‐-­‐-­‐Fi and to interact with readers who might point him to a new wrinkle in the fast-­‐-­‐-­‐moving field.

Furthermore, journalism is a civic good, and in the past, the companies within the news industry in many countries have enjoyed the opportunity to be funded both privately and publicly according to New Trends of Journalism: New Business Models (http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-­‐-­‐-­‐and-­‐-­‐-­‐information/flagship-­‐-­‐-­‐project-­‐-­‐-­‐ activities/world-­‐-­‐-­‐press-­‐-­‐-­‐freedom-­‐-­‐-­‐day/2011-­‐-­‐-­‐themes/new-­‐-­‐-­‐trends-­‐-of-­‐-­‐-­‐journalism/). The large media organizations, usually run by self-­‐-­‐-­‐contained corporations (Like CNN), are the media channels that give overall international and national news, but these are the ones confronting financial burdens from the growth of digital media. Participatory journalism has become a bottom-­‐-­‐-­‐up, emergent phenomenon in which there is little or no editorial oversight or formal journalistic workflow dictating the decisions of a staff (We Media, pp 9). John Seely Brown, chief scientist of Xerox Corp., further elaborates on participatory journalism in the book,

“The Elements of Journalism: In an era when anyone can be a reporter or commentator on the Web, ‘you move to a two-­‐-­‐-­‐way journalism. The journalist becomes a ‘forum leader,’ or a mediator rather than simply a teacher or lecturer. The audience becomes not consumers, but ‘pro-­‐-­‐-­‐sumers,’ a hybrid of consumer and producer.”(We Media, pp 8)

Hence, one of the countless trials to news gatherers and journalists face present day. Joan Connell, executive producer for opinion and community at MSNBC.com states "How do we discover information and share it in creative ways with people?” said Connell, “Give them

the information they need to make the choices in their lives as citizens." Therefore, differences of attitudes and presentation in providing information are suitable for grasping new audiences, but those variations should be reliable with the foundation of editorial ethics. Journalist should obtain theoretical understandings on what the message stand for, and honor it. The principles pertain throughout all content and platforms. "No matter what the platform, the primary mission of journalism is to provide information that gives meaning and context to the events that shape our lives, our communities, and our world" according to Online Journalism Ethics: Guidelines from the Conference. Lastly, Facebook and Twitter have surfaced as significant mediators amongst

societies and central political, economic, social and cultural events and matters (Pelli, D. G.,

& Bigelow, C. pp. 13-­‐-­‐-­‐18). As early models of social impact might have foretold, people are tend to have friends whom they obtain their news feeds. These so called “news junkies,” those who spend a lot of their time reading and remarking about news exposure of important events, many of which who are also skilled operators of social networking sites, are unquestionably an important source of information for their wider social network, only speaking from experience and a constant user of Facebook and Twitter. The function of bloggers filter the news for their social network, and spread the information amongst their follows is already known. However, when there is an imperative wide-­‐-­‐-­‐reaching affair or breaking news story, one can see the dissemination of the news completely through hit social networks as people post links to detailed news stories and statements on those that their network has posted. Many typical news organizations have supplementary features on their websites that permit their audience to simply interact to their Facebook status

updates or Twitter feeds. Such components speed up the delivery of a precise news story

across one’s social network as well as permitting for the development of micro-­‐-­‐-­‐ communities around specific stories through Facebook’s “like” and comment tools (Perez, S. CNN). Everyone morning I watched CNN, and some mainstream news platforms such as “CNN Newsroom’s Rick Sanchez” permitted people to rapidly “talk back” to the newscaster by posting remarks and queries on Twitter. The comments posted by viewers, which are most likely assessed prior to mentioning them on the broadcast, are scrolled through the bottom of the screen as well as demonstrated in their innovative form on screen while Sanchez speaks particular comments aloud. Within minutes of the breaking news, it was possible to see links, comments and

updates from around the country, and, indeed, around the world, in multiple languages. But in an age in which new forms of communication are emerging, it "must adapt and grow to meet this challenge if we are to remain relevant" according to poytner.org on ethics in journalism. Something former anchor, Rick Sanchez, implemented during his years at CNN, and opened the way for social media within broadcasting. The journalistic mission transmits with it the accountability to its audiences in systems that range outside the printed word. It must exploit emerging technologies to offer a greater news involvement throughout multimedia and interactivity. Journalist must embrace the fact that the public desires to select the means in which they are educated on the news and to carve the discussions of the day in their own understanding. One thing is certain to succeed in today market, new business models have to accept this new reality, or it runs the risk of losing authority and dynamic role in gathering and filtering the information to it’s audiences. In conclusion, the social media industry is still at the beginning stages of

development, and it has become a widespread interface of connecting with people

worldwide, including organizations and news (Perez, S.). In reference to devoted users, these platforms are swiftly intruding on other methods of communication including the telephone and e-­‐-­‐-­‐mail. In its place, users trust on computers and mobile phone Web 2.0 applications that let them allocate individual info about them, comment on the news, and contribute in significant media events (L. Forlano, pp. 81-­‐-­‐-­‐85). Newspaper may be able to survive in a highly competitive digital environment, but the transition to success has been painful and still evolving. User-­‐-­‐-­‐generated content adds various influences and feelings on organization’s coverage of the news, contributes to journalists’ credibility, and enhances the mission as trusted guides (Bowman, Shayne, and Chris Willis: We Media.). Assuming that issues related to old newsroom culture can be overcome, there are more hurdles facing the media. To be successful, reporters will need to be more than just skilled writers. They will have to enhance their skills in interpersonal communication amongst social network site, and become more familiar with managing social site-­‐-­‐-­‐specific topics of interest. “Increasingly, audiences are becoming stakeholders in the news process. Rather than passively accepting news coverage decided upon by a handful of editors, they fire off emails, post criticism on weblogs and forums and support or fund an independent editorial enterprise”. (Bowman and Willis, 2003) Understanding the functions of user-­‐-­‐-­‐generated content would also suggest caring about a particular subject and tending a level of trust between the publisher and the contributor. Thus, we leave the future of journalism in the hands of a quick evolving industry, in need of a new business model.

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