PBS - News War http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newswar/ Worth a watch if you’re interested, part 3 is probably the most relevant for this lecture.
Quality journalism no longer exists
Depends what you mean by quality
This is often an aesthetic complaint made by older journalists who don’t think personal ‘feminized’ journalism is journalism
Even so - in the last few years we have seen journalism that exposed:
GW Bush’s drug history
Rape in the armed services
The illegality of the war in Iraq
The complicity of AT&T in wide ranging spying on American citizens
The use of spurious charges brought against critics of the Bush government
Numerous cases of corruption
The power of the press
The Watergate story, while important, pales in significance against some of these. The difference is governments now understand that public opinion has little to no power except during an election cycle- just look at the response to the massive anti-Iraq war protests. This is a change in how politicians respond to journalism, not journalism itself.
Business journalism, by contrast, remains very powerful.
Now often undertaken by non-journalists
Note also: 4 Corners, Dateline, Rolling Stone
Company mergers are putting journalists under pressure
This is true, as with any business
Downside of the portfolio career
Newspaper journalists at smaller papers often have to write up to 13 stories a day
Broadcast journalists now have to do video, radio and print in some organisations
New skillsets are important - ABC now employs ‘user-generated content producers’
Journalists may have to follow the example of programmers
Bloggers are parasites who feed off hard working journalists
It’s a two way street
Journalists may use blogs to find sources, leads, story ideas, instead of doing a beat
Fox News has programs based on what the blogs are saying
Often stories are stolen wholesale
Blogs often do the hard work of correcting and contextualising stories for free
Blogs add to the conversation - expand coverage beyond talking heads
Professional jealousy, fear, moral panics, incompetence
John Stewart vs Crossfire Video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=aFQFB5YpDZE Transcript: http://mediamatters.org/items/200410160003
Blogs and the news
Blogs played key roles in the U.S. Presidential primaries (even if the world’ s first mainstream blogger-candidate Howard Dean crashed back to earth when the broadcast media joined the party); bloggers were invited to cover the national conventions of both Democrats and Republicans; and blogs also played a significant role in reporting unfolding world events from the London underground to the streets of Iraq, to the shores of Indonesia and Thailand. CNN, BBC, newspapers and other mainstream media now regularly turn to the blogosphere to gauge public opinion on controversial issues, and this coverage of w hat the bloggers are saying has begun to replace the traditional vox-pop interview with the person in the street. (Bruns and Jacobs, 2006)
Blogs provide a way for young people to enter into public debate and the newsmaking process that is no longer offered by mainstream journalism
Participatory form of journalism
Expands the coverage of news
Allows non-experts to take depart in discourse
Also allows experts to explain issues in detail - economists, scientists, doctors, etc
a scarcity of quality economic analysis and a conservative political climate in the US has restricted the economic coverage of major media to supply-side ‘voodoo economics’. This has led numerous economists to publish their work online. (Quiggin, 2006)
Mainstream news doesn’t deal with youth issues well either - youth need their own voice
Fox and Friends fight over soundbite culture and fact distortion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiIK8jh3ZCE
Industry recognition of move to online/incidental/ubiquitous consumption
Remember - media companies don’t sell content to readers, they sell readers to advertisers
Murdoch - Myspace purchase, Microsoft - Facebook.com
Brisbanetimes.com.au - first completely online mainstream newspaper in Australia
Fairfax and News Corp putting blogs on their websites
Conflict between newspaper editors and journalists and company owners
Search for business model - high rate of failure in startups. Youtube/Myspace/mobile content - difficulty finding profit
More accurate metrics for online advertising - Tivo effect
Cheap outrage easier to produce than investigative journalism
CNNNN - A Chaser Affair http://youtube.com/watch?v=jHso1e6NY90
Definition - somewhat broad, contested
What is a citizen?
Used to refer to media produced by non-professionals, or in a non-professional capacity
‘ user generated content’ ‘user led production’
Media made by non-journalists
Includes things like: blogs, podcasts, Youtube
Models of citizen journalism
1. Opening articles up to feedback
2. Citizen add-on reporter
3. Open-source or participatory reporting
4. The citizen bloghouse
5. Newsroom citizen 'transparency' blogs
6. The stand-alone citizen-journalism site: Edited version
7. The stand-alone citizen-journalism site: Unedited version
8. Add a print edition
9. pro-am hybrid
10. integrating citizen and professional journalism
11. wiki journalism, or readers as editors
Criticisms of citizen journalism
Is it journalism? (well, what is journalism?)
Is journalism: about writing? About research? About doing interviews?
Are bloggers journalists?
Possibly a better question: does blogging contribute to the practice of journalism?
Does journalism need help?
Who determines what is news? Journalism?
Does anyone care except journalists?
The computer wore menace shoes - the Simpsons Kent: A new Internet watchdog is creating a stir in Springfield. Mr. "X", if that is real name, has come up with a sensational scoop. Homer: [watching at home] Darn tooting! Kent: But we must never forget that the real news is on local TV, delivered by real officially licensed newsmen, like me, Kent Brockman. Coming up: how do they get those dogs to talk on the beer commercials? [a reporter in a big cowboy hat appears] Cowboy Steve will tell you!
Production is driven by users: examples include Youtube, blogs, video game mods
Internet sites that allow readers to contribute, edit: examples include blogs, wikis
Combination of producers and users - used to describe the complex ways people interact with media online
Differs from gatekeeping -
Gatekeepers only publish what they think is relevant/important
Gatewatchers point to all relevant information, with differing levels of emphasis - allows the reader more agency
ABC/News Corp/Netscape now employing people to do this
The Mullet strategy
Combination of user generated content and editor control
E.g.: http: //digg .com http: //myspace .com
“ Business up the front, party out the back”
Pro-am engagement -
http: //OhMyNews .com
http: //Newassignment .net
Redactive journalism, or cut ‘n paste ‘n comment
Redactive journalism - journalism that is made of editing - making sense of information that is publicly available
We now live in a world where we have too much info rather than not enough - simply adding more information to public discourse is no longer the most important function of journalism
Problem with the Narrative of Decline - assumes a perfect form of journalism, without recognizing that journalism changes as society changes
… the continuing trend in journalism away from investigative reporting and toward pundit commentary also makes blog-based commentary on the news highly compatible with mainstream news content.