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Freedom of press - Assignment Example

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One if the ubiquitous trends of the 21st century is the easy access to information and wider communication networks available to the average person thanks to the equalizing effects of the internet. The world wide web has made it easier for people to access all kinds of…
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“The rise of internet journalism and ‘click bait’ – threats for public information” One if theubiquitous trends of the 21st century is the easy access to information and wider communication networks available to the average person thanks to the equalizing effects of the internet. The world wide web has made it easier for people to access all kinds of information in a variety of mediums including the written word, videos, short messages (e.g ‘Tweets”) and others. The trend is powered by the large number of people who are willing to collect and share information with each other without having the need for middle men; it has seriously challenged traditional journalism and media practices who are also trying to adapt to the new medium.
However, internet journalism suffers from a lack of structure that often results in ethical breaches and creation of content that is not informative or reliable. While the potential for internet as a tool for mass information is great; its biggest advantage is also its greatest weakness. With so many players in the information sector and a emphasis on being the first one to break a news; there is no check on the quality of the material is produced and distributed, no benchmarks in place and no enforcement of journalistic standards. “It is clear that digital journalism can allow for greater commitment to editorial standards. From better linking to primary sources of information, to greater commitment to transparency, there has never been an age more able to incorporate open, high-quality journalism” (Riordan).
The problem is that online with so much free content available, websites are in a desperate race to get the most viewers and increase ad revenues. There is a significant occurrence of “Click-bait” in internet media outlets, where readers are enticed by sensational, often exaggerated headlines into going to a website link for a news article which may be unrelated to the exact heading. The practice is done to increase the number of users for a certain website and it compromises the integrity of the news. The worse scenarios are in which the news itself is falsified to create reader interest, one innocent example of this phenomena are related to the launch of the iphone 6 which was soon accompanied by news stories about the phone bending under slight pressure or people falling to pranks about charging the phone. These news stories were debunked within a few days but created a significant interest among fans and critics of the phone alike. More seriously, in the Gaza-Isreal conflict a lot of the news that was passed around on social media was fabricated or exaggerated to support either side and was supported by harsh, emotionally exploitive headlines.
Such cases show that people have to be diligent about their information sources on the internet; the mass volume of information available means that it is easier for people to slip in unauthenticated sources in the medium. Until ‘click-bait’ and other unscrupulous practices in online journalism industry are removed through the development of structure and benchmarks, the average reader should be wary of the information being distributed through it.
Works Cited
Riordan, Kellie. The internet can deliver better journalism, not just clickbait, University of Oxford. Tasmanian Times, 14 Sept 2014. Web. 4 Oct 2014. Read More
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