As discussed in the previous article, new media has a profound impact on the world of journalism. And, as promised, today, we shall discuss some more essential features of the new media that brought several changes to the way journalism is today.
Old media was a more a one-way affair, with journalists providing information and audiences receiving on the receiving ends of broadcasts. However, the new media is a more of a two-way process that allows the audiences to get more involved. According to Jenkins (2008), “media interactivity has produced a “participatory culture.” In other words, journalists and consumers no longer occupy separate roles and instead, users are now considered as participants in the news industry
Moreover, this new media feature has led to the creation of interactive journalism, which refers to a new type of journalism where citizens bring a huge contribution to news stories directly. Using the web 2.0 technology, reporters have more opportunities to engage actively and have online discussions with the audience. The new media is a platform that allows journalists to reengage the audience and build “collective conscience.” For example, the Internet enables the unprecedented empowerment of individuals.
Besides, interactive journalism has encouraged the news industry to lean towards both print content and video, graphic, sound clips and social media in their reporting process.
Hypertexts or links are viewed as essential features of the new media. Hypertexts create a more interactive media where the audience has more freedom to navigate over the various sources of information available to them.
Rather than conforming to a fixed and linear news format, journalists communicate information through the use of hypertexts by incorporating a myriad of perspectives. This leads to active and self-reflective readers. As per Murray (1997), “hypertexts call attention to the process of narrative construction and enhance the involvement of readers.”
What about Newsgathering?
Nowadays, new media has become an increasingly significant source for newsgathering. Journalists acknowledge the fact that the arrival of the new and digital media has indeed initiated a fundamental shift within journalism and therefore, computers have replaced typewriters and Facebook and Twitter posts have replaced telephone-based tips. Today, reporters can also become their own cameramen with their smartphones in their hands.
It is viewed that web articles, web journals, web magazine articles, websites, books on the web, email discussion groups, web archives and social media platforms are vital tools that are used in the process of newsgathering. For instance, did you know that at Chicago Tribune, which is a newspaper found in Chicago, the social media news editors begin their day by going through tweets and Facebook posts to get ideas about how to engage their audience? For example, Stacey Leasca, one of the social media editors, always tries to track what’s trending on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing before writing news blog posts and interacting with the newspaper’s audience.
Another great example is how the Vox has a team made up of six people who exclusively focus and depend on social media to create headlines and to get ideas for news articles.
Murthy (2013) claimed that “Twitter has proved extremely useful as a newsgathering medium in terms of communicating information about events such as the Tohuku earthquake in Japan in 2011 and social movements such as the Occupy protests in London and New York in 2011. Twitter has also been effective in the Egyptian protests that toppled President Mubarak.”
What Is Structured Journalism?
One way to adapt journalism to the growing world of the new media is to change the way news content is written. This is what structured journalism is about. For instance, usually, once a journalist gets an assignment, the latter collects the necessary information, writes and structures the article and then the story is made accessible on numerous platforms. In other words, this is the only way to connect with the finished product.
However, structured journalism is a new type of storytelling that breaks out of the normal and routine-like pattern and pieces of information are mixed and organized in ways that can enhance news story organization for subjects that evolve over long periods of time. This meets the needs of those readers who either want a recap of the story or want to explore every angle of an issue. Additionally, the characteristic of structured journalism makes it possible for readers to explore stories at their own pace. As per David Smydra, “structured journalism plays perfectly with the affordances of digital media.”
Despite the revolution brought upon the journalism world by the new and digital media, journalists are still irreplaceable and unstoppable. What are your views about this? Please share them in the comment section below!