Digital media: Death or transformation of journalists?
My name is Aishah Rahman and this blog post will be exploring whether digital media is the transformation or the death of journalists.
When you tend to wake up in the morning, which of the following are you more likely to do?
a) Go out and buy a newspaper
b) Grab your iPhone and check the BBC news app?
In an article written by the Guardian, it was stated that more than half of the British population access news online. Figures display 55% of people access news via downloading content online, or through online-only websites. The popularity of digital consumption surged in 2007, and 2013 marked the first time the majority of adults used online sources more than newspaper. (Sweney, 2013)
71% of adults use a mobile or smartphone to access the internet in Great Britain. In 2016, 40% of adults used desktop computers to access the internet, whereas 21% of adults use smart TV’s to access the internet. (Prescott, 2016) As a young adult myself, I reach my iPhone or iPad to access the news as digital devices and the availability of finding information online is continuously becoming more and more accessible to many of us.
In a simple sentence: digital media has reshaped the way journalists work. Now whether that is a good or bad thing, is questionable. It is evident that digital media provides challenges for journalists. However, digital media has provided an opportunity for the minority to voice their opinions, although it has not changed the traditional media’s practice of covering sensitive issues in an biased or restricted way. Digital media has allowed candidates to use social media to communicate with voters. As a result, this has remarkably increased political participation, especially in terms of involvement from the younger generation. (Chan, 2014) For example, Donald Trump’s use of Twitter during the US election period whether that was a good thing or not.
Another positive of digital media: Faster delivery of information
With individuals being able to access news from home, there is more interaction with readers in general. Nearly two thirds of 56 countries have noted that digitization has quickened news production and delivery in Asia, as well as North and South America. (Chan, 2014) Hence, this suggests that digital media has not only transformed journalism digitally, but has had a whole global impact.
So if digital media has changed journalism, what does this mean for our future journalists?
A guardian article expresses that although the internet is greatly valued, old-fashioned press could still be best, according to the Guardian’s correspondent and foreign affairs editor Peter Beaumont. (Krotoski, 2011)
The fourth estate- a term coined by Edmund Burke that describes how journalism acts as a fourth branch of government, that holds the public and citizens accountable. With the new forms of journalism, an issue with this could be whether social media and blogging represents the fourth estate, or whether the decline in print media is leading to an unofficial branch. (Danny et al)
Thus, as new media is unable to effectively illustrate a form of fourth estate, Peter Beaumont may be correct in stating traditional press could be best. In this sense, digital media is not the death of journalists but the transformation as they are now adapting to the digital age and learning new ways to interact and share information with citizens through social media.
Chan, Y (2014) Journalism and Digital Times: Wider Reach and Sloppy Reporting, [online] place of publication: Global Investigative journalism Network. Available: http://gijn.org/2014/09/16/journalism-and-digital-times-wider-reach-and-sloppy-reporting/> [accessed on Wednesday 26th April 2017].
Danny, C, Journalism in the Digital Age, [online] available: https://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs181/projects/2010-11/Journalism/ > [accessed on Wednesday 26th April 2017.
Krotoski, A, (2011) what effect has the internet had on journalism? [online] place of publication: the guardian. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/feb/20/what-effect-internet-on-journalism> [accessed on Wednesday 26th April 2017].
Prescott, C, (2016) Internet access- households and individuals: 2016, (2016), [online] place of publication: Office for National Statistics. Available: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/bulletins/internetaccesshouseholdsandindividuals/2016#mobile-or-smartphones-are-the-most-popular-devices-used-by-adults-to-access-the-internet >[accessed on Wednesday 26th April 2017].
Sweney, M (2013) More than half of Britons access news online, [online] place of publication: the guardian. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/aug/08/half-britons-access-news-online > [accessed on Wednesday 26th April 2017].