ONLINE CIVIC ENGAGEMENT? Online Journalism and Election Reporting in India
OUTLINE• Background - Author, Indian election, 2008 Mumbai attacks• Case Studies• Theory• New model of civic engagement• Class activity - oursay.org - start thinking about digital acts of engagement.
BACKGROUND - AUTHOR• Saayan, Chattopadhyay• Assistant Prof. Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Baruipur College, Calcutta University, India.• After a stint as a journalist in Kolkata, he is currently engaged in research and academics.
2009 INDIA ELECTION• 15th Lok Sabha election - 700 million voters (Aus - 12 Million voters, US 70 Million)• World’s largest exercise in electoral democracy• Election - 3 Alliances, United Progressive Alliance (UPA), National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Third Front - neither UPA or NDA. - UPA won.
26.11.2008 MUMBAI ATTACKS• 11 shooting and bombing attacks by Islamist terrorists• Turning point for social media in India and online journalism• 80 tweets via SMS every 5 seconds• Pleas for blood donors, emergency phone numbers etc.
2009 - STATE OF ONLINE• Indiaranked 5th in top 20 countries using the Internet - 42 million users (3.6% of world’s users)• Butonly 3.7% internet penetration - mainly urban segment had access (by comparison AUS has 76%)• Less than 10% speak English (most election related websites)• India 3rd in number of twitter users (1st USA, 2nd Germany)
CASE STUDIES• http://indian-election2009.blogpot.com/• http://www.merinews.com/• http://thisismyindia.com/• http://blog.offstumped.in/category/india-elections-2009/• http://www.swapan55.com/• http://www.indiavision.com/blog/2009/04/225.blg
INNOVATION• Hindustan Times and Google India - “THE ULTIMATE ELECTION WEBSITE”
THEORY ON JOURNALISM• “The journalism of utilitarian integration” vs “journalism of attraction” - many to many vs traditional top-down.• Technology is naturalised, invisible - newsworthy information is fundamental - relevant, veriﬁable facts - transparency• Useof current platforms and acts - crowdsourcing, user- generated content, twitter feeds, CoverItLive (video)• Enable reader to make own judgements in terms their own analysis of information
RESTRICTIONS• Election reporting is restricted by established organisational hegemony - oppressed under ownership control and political intervention - biased coverage and restricted debate• $$$$ - limited advertising revenues from online editions (only big papers and their online initiatives made proﬁt/broke-even• Role of reporters - assigned traditional broadcast models, no agile online editorial structures in place (online dept. called ‘computer’ dept. tech staff only)• Lackof exclusive content - shovelware. Poor management of user generated content.
CONCLUSIONS• Internetis a valuable resource for journalistic engagement, only for those who have access to computers• Access to internet does not guarantee increased serious journalistic activity, or enlightened political discourse• “Motivationfor change must live beyond the immediacy of elections and the horror of terrorism. The next generation must denounce cynicism and embrace civic-mindedness.
EMBRACING CIVIC- MINDEDNESS• Class activity on Oursay.org• Quick background info and intro to site• Break into groups of 4 - come up with best question regarding digital activism / online civic engagement.• We will vote on the best question and post on the site
TRENDS IN PLATFORMS• Knight Foundation - reframed the problem of journalism in the digital age - not an argument about saving newspapers - but one of moving ‘toward the challenge of ﬁnding new ways to accomplish journalism’s core function of meeting the information needs of a community’• Attentionscarcity - more info ﬂowing around than ability of people to pay attention to it (34 GB per day)• Rankingand ﬁltering - Reddit, Digg and now new pinterest, quora and medium
Ethan Zuckerman - Attention, Activism, and Advocacy in a Digital Agehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckX7eyu2fEY
QUESTION• The “yearof the protester” changed the rules of the game, but how has it changed the players? What does a young social- media savvy generation bring to the table for democracy? Are we e-Activists or Slacktivists?• In recent years, both in Australia and abroad, we’ve seen young people ﬁnding new and innovative ways of communicating opinions and ideas, challenging traditional thinking and creating new methods of activism. In the wake of Kony 2012, the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring, are we bearing
REFERENCES• Aouragh, M., 2012. Social media, mediation and the Arab revolutions, TripleC, 10(2), pp.518.• Bruns, Axel and Burgess, Jean (2011) ‘#ausvotes: How Twitter covered the 2010 Australian federal election’, Communication, Politics and Culture, 44(2):37-56.• Chadha, K., 2012. Twitter as media watch-dog? Lessons from Indias Radia tapes scandal, Global Media and Communication, 8, p. 171.• Chattopadhyay, Saayan (2012) ‘Online journalism and election reporting in India’, Journalism Practice, 6(3):337-348.• Luna Reyes, L., 2012. Young adults online participation behaviors: An exploratory study of web 2.0 use for political engagement, Information polity, 17(2) pp.163 -176.• Lasorsa, D., 2012. Transparency And Other Journalistic Norms On Twitter, Journalism Studies, 13(3), pp.402-417.• Lewis, S., 2012. From Journalism to Information: The Transformation of the Knight Foundation and News Innovation, Mass Communication & Society, 15(3) pp.309 -334.• Schmierbach, M., & Oeldorf-Hirsch, A., 2012. A Little Bird Told Me, So I Didnt Believe It: Twitter, Credibility, and Issue Perceptions, Communication Quarterly, 60(3), pp.317-337.• Vacker, B., Yearning to be the center of everything, when we are the center of nothing: The parallels and reversals in chaco, hubble, and facebook, Telematics and informatics, 30(1), p.35.