A New Information Ecosystem: Social Media & News in American Politics

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Slides from a talk at the Oxford University Internet Institute in February 2011 by Ari Melber, J.D.

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The United States has pioneered many breakthroughs in politics and government, and today, the US is undergoing a profound shift in how news, ideas and ideologies are shaped and shared in the political process. Looking from the top down, President Barack Obama was elected through a vast yet tightly networked campaign structure, which routed around legacy communication channels; broke all fundraising records in US history; and dramatically altered the voting universe in 2008. Looking from the bottom up, meanwhile, Americans are gathering and sharing information in radically different ways. Social cues increasingly take more precedence over traditional authorities in journalism, where publications now summon less trust, and less revenue, from their dwindling audiences.

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