The Future of Journalism and its influence and impact to the Society
These analyses include the rise of citizen journalism and social media including the current and future positive and negative impacts of the same on the society. Table of Contents Introduction 4 Journalism and its role in the society 5 The evolution of journalism 6 Literature Review 7 The media ecology theory 7 The social media version of the cultivation theory 8 The Goffman’s framing theory 8 Consumption of news via internet and social media 9 Credibility of internet news 10 Professionalism of the internet news content creators 11 Influence of traditional journalism on the society 12 Print journalism and its influence on the society 13 Television journalism and its influence on the society 13 Radio journalism and its influence on the society 13 The eminent death of traditional journalism 14 Impact of the eminent death of traditional journalism to the society 15 The rise of Internet and citizen journalism 15 Blogging as a tool of journalism 17 E-newspapers and e-magazines 19 Social media platforms 19 Facebook as a Tool of Citizen Journalism 20 Twitter as a Tool of Citizen Journalism 21 Instagram as a tool of citizen journalism 21 WhatsApp Messanger as a tool of citizen journalism 22 Video media platforms 22 The future impact of Social Media and citizen journalism on the society 23 Positive impact of Social Media and citizen journalism on the society 24 Speedy information dissemination 24 Immediate audience-source feedback 25 Information comparison from multiple sources 26 Fast spread of cautionary information 27 Low cost of marketing and products promotion 28 Improved education of public on topical issues 29 Negative impact of internet and citizen journalism on the society 30 Lack of Professionalism and Ethics in Journalism 30 Reduction of Income for Traditional Journalists and Media Houses 31 Mistrust and Suspicion by Audience 32 Speedy Circulation of Negative Information 33 Circulation of Explicit and Graphic Content 34 Circulation of Political Propaganda and Hate 34 Rise of Scammers and Fraudsters 35 Kidnappings and Human Trafficking 36 Conclusion 37 References 38 Introduction Journalism has in the past years evolved from the traditional collecting and dissemination of information, mostly news, to a wider and complex career.
Traditional journalism involves trained personnel paid by media houses to produce news content. The news content is fed to its consumers through print, radio, television and the internet (Kaufhold, Valenzuela and de Zúñiga, 2010). The content produced in traditional journalism passes through a couple of filters including content editors. The media is always referred to us the mirror of society, in all democratic countries, it enjoys unlimited freedom of expression. The media uses this freedom in peacemaking where by disseminating information that is educative on the issues of harmonious relationships between communities and co-existence. The media may exemplify the need for peaceful existence through using its instruments to show the consequence of violence where it has happened The media in any society plays a great role in checking the excesses of governments.
The media achieves this through exposing corruption as well as other vices within the government. The media reports on corruption and other vices in public institution prompting the citizen to demand for action. The age of computers and internet is also evolving fast and has currently brought us to the social media and mobile devices. The same is threatening the existence of traditional journalism and giving rise to citizen journalism (Blaagaard, 2013). Literature Review It could be argued that the current phase of media or information evolution is computer and internet. Whereas this is true, we also are seeing fast paced evolution of information dissemination and consumption within the phase. Traditional internet and computer journalism has now given rise to modern social media journalism, now popularly referred to as citizen journalism (Touri and Kostarella, 2016).
The social media version of the cultivation theory Cultivation theory also referred to as cultivation hypothesis or analysis was created by Gerbner in 1960s. The theory generally states that too much television watching can make the viewers believe in what they watch. The viewers can belief that media messages being relayed in the television are real, valid and true. Such viewers will be slaves of the fashions they watch on television. Those who watch programs that are violent might develop mean world syndrome and live their life believing that the world is a dangerous place to live, even though their environments do not portray the same (Nacos, 2000). In this form of information dissemination and sharing, the content creators are making “frames” to control the way their target audience process information.
This has been used by marketers to force their product to unwilling potential customers through the social media platforms. Politicians are exploiting the framing analysis to pass messages of hate in the social media platforms. This has been one of the major causes of recent waves of violence and ethnic cleansing especially in Africa. Framing theory has also been used by terrorists to advance their agenda and recruit innocent unsuspecting young men. The social media platforms offer users a cost free avenue for self expression and sharing the same expressions with persons they deem like mind or of similar interests having connected with them. All this was not available in the traditional print, radio and television media. Credibility of internet news Citizen journalism through social media platforms has tremendously changed the way people consume information.
Through push notification feature of smart devices, the public can get instant news of the channels they have subscribed to. But how credible are those news? Credibility of the news or information in the social media platforms depends on who posted them. Professionalism of the internet news content creators Journalists are considered very powerful people in the society due to their influence through collecting and distribution of information. The information they collect and disseminate to the public hold the power to inform the public, as well as misinform it. The information can shape and influence the behaviors of consumers and their life styles. Journalists have the power to make peace in the society or trigger violence depending on how the disseminate information.
Journalists enjoy ultimate freedom in undertaking their duties in all the democratic countries. The content of professional journalists undergoes many checks and balances before it is released to the public for consumption. This is normally done to safeguard the consumers of such information from unverified, untrue and fake information. When it comes to internet news content creators, all these checks and balances are discarded. Professionalism and morality are no longer a consideration. The content creators are not necessarily trained journalists and this exposes the consumers of such news to many risks (Ward, 2009). The end product is quality publications safe for consumption by the entire society. Print media is now being replaced with blogs, e-newspapers and e-magazines whose content is generated by non-professionals.
Television journalism and its influence on the society The influence of television content generated traditionally is of high moral standards. These moral standards are being washed away by the rise of digital contents like YouTube. These contents are not regulated by any bodies and are generated by the public that has not undergone any professional training. The gradual replacement of traditional radio by internet radio is witnessing the moral quality of programming go down to pathetic standards. The eminent death of traditional journalism The Internet and citizen journalism is changing the way people are consuming news and information. A research done by Pew Research Center indicated that on an average typical day, 61% of the American people got their news online. This means that the Internet is fast replacing television as a source of news and information.
(State of the News Media, 2010). The production process is undertaken by highly trained professionals guided by ethics and morals. Whether in print, radio and television, the content is morally created to take care of the entire society. There are publications for children, youth and adult; informational, educational and entertainment. The same goes for radio and television programming. Children are shielded from consuming harmful contents by airing and broadcasting adult stuff during watershed period. 1960s saw the development of the early forms of internet like CompuServe. Networking technology started improving in the 70s and in 1979, net worked computer users could communicate. Home computers became more common in 80s and that is when social media was born with relay chats being first used in 1988.
Six Degrees, which can be said to be the first widely used social media site, came up in 1997. It was the first social media website that allowed its users to make friends with other users, and even upload a profile. The social media platforms have created an avenue for participatory news whereby the news consumers can interact with the news source, give their feedback or even seek clarification. The platforms have also created the avenue for the users to customize their news. Consumers of news have now become the content creators and distributers. They receive and distribute news and information via social media platforms which provide for the public to create and distribute news, or to receive and share them. The social media platforms offer users a cost free avenue for self expression and sharing the same expressions with persons they deem like minded or of similar interests having connected with them (Lee and Tandoc, 2017).
In 1998, the first news blog was created by Jonathan Dube when he did a blog for Charlotte Observer on the Hurricane Bonnie; blogs were then referred to as weblog. In 1999, Peter Merholz who was a popular programmer shortened weblog to blog. It was declared by Merriam Webster the word of the year in 2004. From that point, news blog have become an integral part of the online community. Blogs have grown from being manually updated which was not very efficient to well designed sites that are easy to make and run with thousands of blog templates available online. Such consumers often crosscheck such news and information with other sites and platforms that are deemed more trusted and reliable (Borah, 2015). E-newspapers and e-magazines Citizen journalism is also growing popular in the form of e-newspapers and e-magazines.
Tradition newspapers, magazines and other publications require big investments in equipment and machinery that is beyond reach for many. The invention of internet provided a platform for online publications which do not require such investments. Online publications have become a big contributor to the growth of citizen and social media journalism. The connected users can then share information, pictures and videos. The platforms are also currently the fastest way of sharing news. If for instance one user has connected with five thousand users, or a user runs a social media page with millions of followers, a post in their timeline will be viewed by a huge number of people. People who view such a post can also share the same in their timelines which will also be viewed by their followers.
This creates a huge network of sharing and disseminating news. Using their facebook profiles or pages, users can post news items or share already posted news. Users do not have to be professional journalists to disseminate or share news via facebook. Traditional media houses are also creating facebook pages that they use to share news with their audience to keep up with technology. Just like in other social media platforms, news disseminated via facebook lack credibility, especially if they are not posted by credible traditional media houses journalists. Fake and malicious news and information have been posted on facebook pages and profiles (Carlson, 2017). Just like twitter users’ create a profile and follow other users to view their photos. The app allows users to accompany the photos with some text.
Citizen journalists have been taking advantage of the texts provision to disseminate news and information. Just like in twitter and other social media sites, news posted on instagram lack credibility, especially if they are not twitted by credible traditional media houses journalists. Fake and malicious news and information have been spread on instagram. It was founded by Chad Hurley and Steve Chen in 2005 after the duo noted the absence of online video platforms amid the emergence and rise of many photo and text sharing platforms. YouTube has grown over the years to become the largest online video platform with an excess of 2 billion views per day. YouTube has become one of most used tool of citizen journalism. Members of public create an account, referred to as YouTube channel where they can upload video content to be viewed by their audiences, who have subscribed to their channels.
Though professional journalists and traditional media houses have created their own channels on YouTube where they upload news, members of general public who are not trained as journalists can generate and post their own news contents. Professional editors have embraced the idea of finding witnesses and content in the social media, which have been posted or shared by citizen journalists. One commonest feature in almost all social media platforms is that users are allowed to follow users who interest them, and only receive updates from users they follow. This feature enables readers to follow traditional media houses and renowned professional journalists, who mostly work for the said media houses. The readers are therefore guaranteed of verified credible news from such professionals.
Citizen journalists on the other hand don’t verify their information and news, they just post and share. In facebook, a user can create a personal profile where he can connect with up to a maximum of 5000 friends. When such user posts or shares information in their timeline, it is viewed by the persons they are connected to who can share the same information. These triggers a chain of information circulation and in a matter of minutes, a piece of information can reach millions. Facebook provides for users to create a page, where the owner of such page can connect with unlimited number of followers. Such pages are created by entertainers, politicians and professionals from diverse fields just to mention but a few.
The feedback avenues available for traditional news sources like post office are slow and do not provide for immediate feedback. In citizen journalism where social media is used as a medium of disseminating news and information, the audience-source feedback is immediate and real time for consumers who are online. This provides for immediate clarification of issues that may need the same. Consumers are provided with an opportunity to interrogate news and information especially if such news and information are erroneous or malicious. This immediate feedback has killed the monopoly of gate-keeping by traditional media houses and journalists. This is no longer possible in this era of citizen journalism where the public is also involved in monitoring and updating developments of such occurrences.
Comparison of information from multiple sources has enabled news consumers to enjoy different angles, versions and views of an information or news. It enables the consumers to establish the authenticity of news and information thus sorting the menace of fake news. Citizen journalism also provides for news consumers to discuss a news item in real time further accelerating authentication of such news and information. Fast spread of cautionary information Citizen journalism and the social media are impacting highly on fast spread of cautionary information. Marketers are using the platform to carry out surveys for their products and services getting immediate feedback on such surveys. Social media marketing is gradually giving the traditional middlemen a run for their money. This is occasioned by the fact that manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and dealers are posting their merchandise on the internet and the social media.
They interact directly with potential customers edging out the traditional middlemen who thrive through the limited knowledge of the source of commodities by the general public. All businesses including huge corporations and multinationals have embraced social media as a tool of marketing and promotion of their commodities. Health bloggers including doctors and social workers generate contents that are proving to be very efficient in educating the public on healthy practices and lifestyles. This has become very important coming at a time when the world is grappling with an escalation of lifestyle diseases. Social workers are now running blogs that educate the public on the benefits of hygienic lifestyles. Messages of the importance of exercising and how to go about it are being posted n social media video platforms by fitness enthusiasts.
In the UK alone, we have very popular blogs like Julia’s health and fitness blog with over 40000 followers on twitter, over 20000 followers on facebook and over 4000 YouTube subscribers. Agencies such as Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Radio Commission (FRC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have been in operation for the better part of the twentieth and the twenty first century. In the United Kingdom as well, there has two regulatory authorities mandated by the Press Recognition Panel (PRP) to ensure professionalism and ethical standards in journalism. One of these is the Independent Press standards Organization (IPSO) and the other is IMPRESS. Without the functions of such regulatory bodies to keep journalistic works in check, traditional journalism is greatly threatened, especially with the emergence of the social media.
On social media, it not uncommon to find derogatory media content going viral and having a negative effect on governments, businesses and individuals before the regulatory authorities can take control. Today, the younger generation rarely read the newspapers. They claim that the dailies contain yesterday’s news and are rather boring. In the same way, they seldom listen to news on radio or watch news on TV. If at all they ever pay attention to traditional media outlets, they will only tune to entertainment channels or juicy gossip programs. The rest of the time, they will have all their attention on their smart phones either gambling or chatting with their peers using seemingly foreign words; funny jargons and terminologies only they understand.
Though it has not been established whether the accusations are true or not, the fact that the mainstream media could borrow news stories from citizen journalism and go ahead to publish it points to possible mistrust and suspicion of traditional journalism by the audience. Just as the social media has been viewed with some level of doubt, so is traditional journalism likely to be treated henceforth, as long as citizen journalism will continue to be considered a credible source of news to be published. Speedy Circulation of Negative Information It has been attributed to human nature that bad news seems to spread as speedily as bush fire. News of death, accidents or crime tends to draw more attention from the audience as compared to good news.
With traditional journalism, the regulatory authorities mandated with controlling content acceptable for public consumption used to be very strict a few years ago and their measures were quite effective. In complete contrast, the opportunities presented by the availability of smart phones have proved detrimental in that the gadgets have promoted uncensored citizen journalism. Most smart phones today come with powerful cameras that can capture extremely clear images and videos. These devices have enabled the public to be in a position to take disturbing photos and post them on their walls or share them across various social media platforms. Graphics of nudes or people committing immoral acts quickly spread and go viral so that any measures aimed at controlling the content is basically pointless.
By the time the offensive graphics are pulled down, thousands of people have already saved them to their devices, only to share them later. Whether the original post was derogatory or not, the end result could be that of violence characterized by loss of life and destruction to property. This is most common in developing countries, where cases of post election violence have been witnessed. Such eventualities occur when a person in a position of leadership uses social media to incite the people by arguing that a certain community is discriminated against or marginalized in one way or another, and since people are better recipients of negative news than positive, citizen journalism becomes a tool of spreading hatred. Rise of Scammers and Fraudsters During these hard economic times, people are always on the lookout for opportunities to make some quick money.
The internet revolution has given rise to increased cases of cyber crime. Some criminal elements use citizen journalism to advertise attractive job opportunities abroad. They even offer to take care of the visa application process for the ‘beneficiaries’ and pay for their air tickets, of which they really do. Trouble however starts when the recruits arrive in the foreign lands and have their passports forcefully taken away so that they cannot move freely. They are then turned into modern day slaves or commercial sex workers, with no chance of returning home. Such fraudsters know very well that if they put their advertisements through traditional media outlets, they would be scrutinized and found out to be criminal. The same goes for radio and television programming.
With the eminent death of traditional journalism, all these positive impacts of traditional journalism to the society are being washed away by the rise of citizen journalism where the untrained public creates and generates content (Chapman and Nuttall, 2011) References Anon, (2018). [online] Available at: http://www. pewinternet. org/pdfs/PIP%20Bloggers%20Report%20July%2019%202006. Shifting boundaries: Objectivity, citizen journalism and tomorrow’s journalists. Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, 14(8), pp. Borah, P. Blog Credibility: Examining the Influence of Author Information and Blog Reach. Atlantic Journal of Communication, 23(5), pp. Couldry, N. Social Media: Human Life. Social Media + Society, 1(1), p. David Faris, Dissent and Revolution in a Digital Age: Social Media, Blogging and Activism in EgyptFarisDavid, Dissent and Revolution in a Digital Age: Social Media, Blogging and Activism in Egypt, I.
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