Will Evolving Forms of Journalism Be an Improvement - Essay Example

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The American lawyer and journalist, Glenn Greenwald once said, “A key purpose of journalism is to provide an adversarial check on those who wield the greatest power by shining a light on what they do in the dark, and informing the public about those acts”. This quote shows…
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Will Evolving Forms of Journalism Be an Improvement
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Evolving Forms of Journalism are an Improvement The American lawyer and journalist, Glenn Greenwald once said, “A key purpose of journalism is to provide an adversarial check on those who wield the greatest power by shining a light on what they do in the dark, and informing the public about those acts”. This quote shows how important role journalism plays in society. I believe that by examining how much journalism has evolved over the century, we can reach the logical conclusion that this is an improvement.
One significant way journalism has changed from the past is through the rise of participatory journalism. The growth of the Internet has had far reaching effects on almost all industries. In journalism, the internet has expanded the opportunities for individuals to generate content and disseminate it to potentially millions of users at a low cost. Participatory journalism takes two forms; civic journalism and independent journalism. The former is most suited to improve the field of journalism.
In civic journalism, media outlets give their audience an avenue to comment and report on public matters concerning them. Social media provide a gathering place for a broad range of people to participate in a discourse on everyday issues. During the Arab Spring, Social media played a large role in informing the public and gathering support for civil disobedience efforts. While traditional media remained gagged by Arab governments, social media sites of both regional and international media were alive with thousands of user-generated reports. Even when Arab governments shut down internet access, citizens worked to provide alternative internet access.
Alex Jones claims that the collapse or diminishing popularity of traditional news media has the potential to impact negatively on democracy (Alexander and Hanson 169). His argument is valid to some extent as the verification of news that traditional media offers ensure that the information provided to the public is free and fair to all parties and devoid of irregularities. However, throwing a blanket condemnation on participatory journalism ignores evidence that do not support Jones’s argument. Jones mistakenly believes that quality journalism is entirely responsible for democracy. In 19th Century America, while most newspapers openly favored particular parties, voter turnout was considerably higher than modern day America where journalism could be considered to be of a higher quality than in the past.
The impact of social media on audience levels are seen in two approaches. The first approach is that through the internet, the media has an expanded infrastructure to communicate with a wider public. This access to news is near-instantaneous, reaching millions at the push of a button. The media can get feedback and can understand what the needs of their audience are. Public opinions and comments help in guiding the approach of developing news stories. The second approach is that through social media, posts and articles are shared with a wider audience of a reader’s circle of friends and acquaintances. By receiving a news post from a friend, one is encouraged to read that information due to their similar interests or profiles.
Journalism is continually evolving aided by changes in technology. How important these changes are will still remain a hotly debated topic in the coming years. Charting one’s way through the arguments will continue to be difficult due to vested interests. However, it must be noted that the evolution process is unstoppable, and the benefits will outweigh any limitations they bring. The media should be involved identifying how to harness the potential of changing journalism to inform the general public better.
Alexander, Alice and Hanson Jarice.Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Mass Media and Society. New York: McGraw-Hill Education (2013)
Greenwald, Glenn. Edward Snowdens worst fear has not been realised – thankfully. The Guardian. Web.(2013) Available at [Accessed on 29 Jan 2015]
Howard, Phillip and Hussain, Muzammil. Democracys Fourth Wave?: Digital Media and the Arab Spring. USA: OUP (2013). Available at<> [Accessed on 29 Jan 2015]
Timpone, Richard.“Structure, Behavior, and Voter Turnout in the United States,” The American Political Science Review 92.1 (1998): 145-158. Available at [Accessed on 29 Jan 2015] Read More
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