How the Internet might shape the future of Journalism

How might the Internet shape the future of Journalism. Some say it’s shaping the tombstone of Journalism… Some say it’s making journalism cheap (i.e. citizen journalism)… But I don’t see how all of this could be that negative. Here are some of my opinions on this matter:

Credited from Zimbio.com

Instant News

The advantage of the Internet is instantaneous connection with any corners of the world. Anything that happens across the world can be reported spontaneously via the Internet. For example in the case of a coup that happened in Madagascar recently. This island nation off the coast of South Africa is very much isolated from the rest of the world. Who would have known more about it apart from the namesake cartoon movie “Madagascar”? However, news agencies are able to broadcast about this relatively unknown country’s political coup and bring attention to the world of its crisis. So in this way it improves the speed of which journalists publish their news to the world.

 

Daring News

With the Internet, people are not only given the opportunity to access knowledge more readily, they are also able to air their opinions more accessibly. Much criticism towards journalism actually comes from online bloggers (who may or may not be citizen journalists). There has been more criticism about how journalists seems to broadcast news from a vested perspective, which is many steps back from the initial ideal of journalism to inform the public of the truth. A newspaper that has faced such criticism is the Straits Times, which has been mocked by many Singaporean bloggers, and even the local satirical website “Talking Cock” for being a mouthpiece of the ruling government. In a vain attempt to correct this negative image and portray themselves as forward-thinking and concerned for the public’s opinion, the Straits Times launched STOMP as an attempt to reconnect with the public. However, STOMP has been much of a mockery and avenue of debauchery as people abuse the site to upload voyeuristic videos of teenagers engaging in public displays of affection, as well as other petty ungraceful public acts. Which begs the question really… Is STOMP an attempt by the local “mainstream journalism” to discredit and smear the credibility of civilian journalism? 

 

Citizen Journalism

There has been a lot of negative opinions about the influence if the Internet on Journalism over the course of years, especially in Singapore. This particularly relates to the advent of citizen journalism via bloggers who indulge in vigilantism by exposing corporate and governmental scandals and malfeasance.

Where do you go to find out first hand about the Lehman Minibonds fiasco? Tomorrow.sg! Where do you find out that your government has sued another publication for accusations of nepotism and other uglies? Tomorrow.sg! Of course Tomorrow.sg is essentially a directory for Singapore bloggers, rather than a blog itself… But it’s been very useful for me to understand the sentiments of another Singaporean on the same matter. And even more useful for uncovering some shady information about the government that is obviously enjoying media silence.

Citizen Journalism, I feel, is important to Singaporeans. It gives us the avenue to voice our opinions, albeit not without consequences. But at least it’s more accessible and less red-tape than giving a short speech at Hong Lim Park. Of course in time to come, it’s impact on the development of the new generation of Singaporeans will be much anticipated… Opposition anyone?

 

Less Revenue

There has been a bit of discussion about how free  & instantaneously broadcasted news on the internet is going to affect the business for newspapers. Why subscribe Wall Street Journal or New York Times when I can read the same news via Reuters or Associate Press? Well, I can read the same content for free too via WSJ.com and NYT.com!

I beg to differ that the Internet will inadvertently destroy newspapers, unless all they publish is news from  news agencies. The Internet can help newspapers, but challenging them to come up with more creative and meaningful content. Columns, analyses and editorials from the professionals are just about what makes the beef of a good news paper. People don’t just read the news to inform themselves of what’s going on outside, but to learn and reconcile different perspectives. This is exactly the forte of newspapers.

Of course newspapers would have an Internet presence too to keep up with the times. But that’s not going to lead to the death of the hard copy. What happens is newspapers open themselves to greater readership, beyond geographical boundaries. I’m not surprised if there are Lian He Zao Bao fans from US and China. Dr Hong Jun Hao (of COM240 Mass Comms) is clearly a fan of the paper. Guess he reads both offline and online copy of this local Chinese paper. 

 

Internet has and is revolutionizing Journalism. Who knows maybe decades later, it might be credited for saving Journalism from ending up being the mouthpiece of Capitalism and governments.

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