Surviving the Internet Age

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Newspaper and magazine sales may be on the decline, but both of these media outlets are making the shift to cyberspace. Not only is the Internet a cheaper solution in terms of distribution and marketing, but there is an unlimited shelf space and the possibility to increase revenue by allowing companies to advertise on their websites. Digital distribution is changing journalism and bringing the concept of citizen journalism to the forefront. Whether these changes are good or bad depends on how journalism adapts to the advent of new technology. Citizen journalism, a concept some people see as "new media," has surfaced on the Internet and is allowing everyday citizens the opportunity to play an active role in presenting news to the public.

Citizen journalism represents the voice of the people. All though journalistic ethics are often left out, most of the stories and videos provided by ordinary people are unedited and provide worthy information. When Iranians would protest in the city of Tehran, the government wouldn't allow foreign correspondents on the scene to report what they saw. Citizens of the country would videotape the protests and brutal murders on the streets with their video cameras or cell phones. Pictures and videos are raw and unedited. Citizen journalism is certainly not a new concept, though but it is evolving. For years readers could write opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines. There was citizen journalism in the physical space but there weren't many opportunities for everyone to get their opinions heard. However, with the advent of citizen journalism on the Internet, the opportunities for ordinary citizens to share their media relating to current news has increased. People could voice their opinions, attack biased articles by reporters, and share their own personal experiences.

New organizations, companies, and non-profit organizations are already adapting to digital media by having interactive websites, video and picture content. Locals newspapers and national news companies have already come out with websites that include immediate breaking news.A local paper in Tucson, Arizona has converted into a citizen journalism website. They are continuing to recruit citizen journalists and hope to have more than 50 people blogging (Evans).The link to this online paper can be found here. News corporations like CBS have adapted to digital media by having interactive websites with videos and news content, while also providing a citizen journalism site called CBS Eye Mobile.

CNN has a similar website for people to share their media content and report news called CNN has iReport, another website that allows for ordinary people to upload their media content and post their opinions.Blogging cannot be a form of journalism mainly because bloggers don't follow the code of ethics that journalists do. Journalists aim to be objective and have at least one source in their articles. Bloggers can misuse and misrepresent information. They can report their own biased opinions and debate on important issues like religion or abortion without having to provide solid facts to back up what they are saying. Even though blogs and citizen journalism are available to the public, journalism can survive if there are objective news reports delivered by the press on the Internet. The newspapers should still print a papers for subscribers or store shelves because not everyone who has access to a computer wants to read online news. If the newspapers continue to publish online and in paper, they can try to get most of their advertising to happen on the Internet. These newspaper websites need to allow user interaction in order to keep up with blogs and citizen journalism. This is a risk that I believe they should take and they may benefit from it. With user interaction, they can have videos with rating features, comments section for news articles like Yahoo! News does here, and e-mail newsletters.

Journalism will survive in years to come but it is merely adapting to new technology the way older forms of media like television and radio. Citizen journalism may be a new concept but so is digital TV to the old concept of television. Pandora Radio is competing with the traditional radio. The current generation of high school and college students have grown up with the Internet and are accustomed to receiving information fast rather than waiting for a weekly publication, and most of them do receive their news online. More information on that can be found here.  Our society may be shifting away from print and TV news but it's for the best. This relates to the Long Tail because the shift to cyberspace saves time, money and helps enhance distribution. People don't have to wait to hear a full story on an issue during the 6pm evening news or wait until Monday morning for a publication of their local paper.

This new shift of journalism and the concept of citizen journalism allows the Internet to become a democratizing tool. Not only do bloggers fuel debate and share opinions on wrongdoings of others, but citizen journalists can contribute to stories and events by uploading their own media. People now share the equal opportunity to have their voices heard and share content the way journalists would. An example of how the citizens living in Tehran are trying to exercise their rights and have their voices heard can be found here. Creative commons can help citizen journalists obtain licensing on their media. If regular computer users or bloggers see this uploaded content and would like to use it, they may see that it is licensed and take it seriously enough to abide by the creator's wishes. There is no police force online to enforce the licensing through creative commons, but the rise of citizen journalists provides the opportunity for more people to find out what this non-profit organization does and how they distribute licensing. More people can become aware and spread the word.

In 10 years, journalism will still be on the web. I believe there will be media content, videos from new sites, and online newspapers. Journalists will try to follow their code of ethics while bloggers and citizen journalists do whatever they wish. Distribution will change because technology will continue to evolve. Thus, the Internet will play a positive role for journalism. Our society is shifting away from print and regular television but that should be a positive thing because companies can save money on distribution and shelf space.


Works Cited:
Images found via Creative Commons (in order of appearance):

Videos found via Creative Commons (in order of appearance):
First video found via on

"Code of Ethics." Society of Professional Journalists. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr 2010.
DeProto, Christen. "What Will Journalism By Like in 10 Years." Conference News. N.p., 29 Dec 2005. Web. 06 Apr 2010.
Evans, Mark. "Tucson Citizen." N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr 2010.

Gross, Doug. "More Americans Get News From Internet." CNN Tech. N.p., 01 Mar 2010. Web. 08 Apr 2010.

"How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?." N.p., 11 Dec 2009. Web. 08 Apr 2010.

Master, Cyra. "Media Insiders Say Internet Hurts Journalism." The Atlantic. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr 2010.


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