Punk’s Not Dead and Neither is Journalism

blog post week 5

This blog was published with the help of mobile technology, participatory culture, free speech and just a dash of research but could something like this ever contribute to journalism?

In order for journalism to be successful in this new digital environment Pavlik (2013) suggests it needs to involve research, freedom of speech, truth, accuracy and ethical decision making. Not only that but it is suggested news needs to be even more participatory and reciprocal. (Domingo 2008) Audience participation is already encouraged at some levels of journalism through comment, debate and sharing once information is already in the public sphere. However when it comes to deciding what is included in the public sphere, in the stage that Domingo (2008) refers to as the filtering and selection stage, there is little to no participation by the audience. Professional journalists remain the key gatekeepers, deciding what is newsworthy and why.

The issue then becomes how to strike a balance between participation from individuals who are not professionals and maintaining an appropriate level of quality, truth and accuracy.

As seen during the Boston bombings in 2013, overenthusiastic participation from rumor loving, entertainment seeking individuals is often less than helpful. The participation on social media was seen by many as critical crowd sourcing in a time of need but which Sanchez (2013) points out was actually just speculation and not only that but dangerous, potentially life changing, speculation. Starkman (2013) goes further stating, “…the Boston Marathon bombings illustrate how quickly rational public conversation can devolve…” Given the quality of this example of participation via social media, it is no surprise that journalists and organisations are approaching the idea of further participatory roles with trepidation and doubts about an unpredictable public.

Another issue involved in higher levels of audience participation is the need to screen  massive amounts of citizen contributions. This gatekeeper role could potentially provide jobs for many professional journalists displaced by the move to digital media however it is also a very labour intensive operation in an as yet largely revenue sparse environment. As the closure of the Global Mail is testament to.

References

Domingo, D, Quandt, T, Heinonen, A, Paulussen, S, Singer, J.B & Vujnovic, M 2008,“Participatory Journalism Practices In The Media And Beyond,” Journalism Practice,2:3, 326-342.

Pavlik, J.V 2013, “Innovation And The Future Of Journalism,” Digital Journalism,1:2, 181-193.

Sanchez, R 2013, ‘Boston marathon bombings: how social media identified wrong suspects’, The Telegraph UK, 19th April, viewed 02/04/14, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10006028/Boston-marathon-bombings-how-social-media-identified-wrong-suspects.html.

Starkman, R 2013, The boston marathon bombings and social media: a discussion with students, HASTAC, blog post, 25th April, viewed 02/04/14, http://www.hastac.org/blogs/ruth-starkman/2013/04/25/boston-marathon-bombings-and-social-media-discussion-students-0.

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6 thoughts on “Punk’s Not Dead and Neither is Journalism

  1. Do you think that there could be too much “gatekeeping”.in that small interest groups who own large parts of the media will employ journalist s that will push the owner s view may it be political or other wise. As the case is with Rupert Murdoch and his huge empire. So for arguments sake if one government pushes for fast speed Internet it won’t be good for his newspaper/tv network the temptation is there for him to push for a government that will scrap said fast speed Internet.

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    • In traditional journalism there is definitely a problem with cross media ownership and agenda setting by editors and those higher up in the hierarchy. Murdoch is a very extreme, and to me irritating, example as for people who are informed, it’s obvious what is going on however for the majority of the people who consume his media, they have no clue that what they’re being fed is the political interests of an already extremely wealthy man. I feel that digital media evens the playing field somewhat but money is always going to be the sticking point. Digital media offers a great opportunity for more independent journalism, there are already many examples online, I posted on Facebook about SyriaDeeply.org and even for local news there are now independent media options to challenge what is produced by the larger newspapers. It’s so promising but the financial situation online is still very challenging, often independent journalism survives on volunteers and donations and for some, I guess, that may not be enough to attract them or retain them.

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      • I only propose gate keeping online as while there is still the chance of agenda setting, there is also a greater diversity of opinion possible online, you can search for more than one opinion on an issue easier than ever. It is also an environment where it makes sense to gate keep, as individuals can simply post anonymous content for their own amusement or rumour mongering desires, there definitely needs to be some kind of quality control.

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      • Ironically, Murdoch has bought out storyful.com, the Irish-based social media agency which sources – and sells- first-hand grassroots journalism. And so the corporate gatekeepers once again get access to owning rights of material that was put up digitally to get around the consensus journalism that pervades most mass-media.

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      • Thanks for your comment. That outlines yet again the importance of knowing who owns the media you consume and recognising the motivations behind ownership and the biases’ that are possible.

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  2. Reblogged this on reverseferret and commented:
    Journalists have always filtered grassroots tips and observations and here, it can be argued, digital expansion and ‘citizen journalism’ actually strengthens the hand of the original gatekeepers as they transition into a digital environment.

    Citizen journalism can be partial and non-objective but it has the advantage of being raw intel. It behoves the trained journalist to sift through what is fact, what is comment and what is fiction.

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