Is the Internet Killing Journalists?

Posted: April 3, 2011 in Com 125 (b) Intro to internet

With technological revolution journalism will not just be in the usual forms of media broadcast or newspaper publications. Instead, given the rapidly developing world of on-line technology, media and the internet now gives ordinary people the opportunity to be empowered with the power of utilising internet and its applications such as online forums, blogs, podcasts, videocasts to share their opinions and viewpoints regarding topics that interest them.

This form of online journalism gives rise to the term “citizen journalism” – which is when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do – report information. That information can take many forms, from a podcast editorial to a report about a city council meeting on a blog. It can include text, pictures, audio and video. But it’s basically all about communicating information of some kind.

The other main feature of citizen journalism is that it’s usually found online. In fact, the emergence of the Internet – with blogs, podcasts, streaming video and other Web-related innovations – is what has made citizen journalism possible.

The Internet gave average people the ability to transmit information globally and to voice their opinions. That was a power once reserved for only the very largest media corporations and news agencies.


While many of the blogs and citizen journalism sites have done very interesting and positive things, they are not even close to providing the level of coverage that even financially stressed news organizations do today,” said Margaret Duffy, associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism. “Not only do these blogs and websites lack the staff to adequately cover stories, but most citizen journalism managers do not have the financial resources and business experience to make their websites viable over time.

Let’s hear what the Singaporeans have to say…

Citizen journalism is more evident these days, especially with several forums for Singaporeans to express their views.

One platform is Channel NewsAsia’s “I Journalist” programme – now into its second season – which has received positive feedback from viewers.

They are issues you confront, trends you notice and questions you do not seem to get an answer to. Rather than complain to friends and family, citizen journalists get involved.

The latest episode of “I Journalist” discussed construction noise in residential areas – an issue many are all too familiar with – and something film-maker Tan Pin Pin tolerated as a condominium was being built opposite her home.

Her issue resonated with many people Channel NewsAsia spoke to after receiving feedback about it.

One person said: “That is a problem because most of the time, I will be working night shift. I sleep in the day so I can’t get enough sleep…

Pin Pin got residents in her block to sign a petition asking for a ban on construction on Sundays and public holidays.

Some polytechnic students featured in the programme’s first episode did the same – as they rallied for lower public transport fares with a petition.

The students have achieved some success, at least with the recent announcement of fare cuts.

Tiffany Ang, producer, “I Journalist”, MediaCorp News, said: “‘I Journalist’ stems from the idea of citizen journalism, where the ideas come from the citizens themselves. And we take these ideas that are from the people and delve a little bit more into it to find out what issues there are, and see it in the larger Singapore context.”

One person said: “I suppose it is a good thing, because it brings up certain issues that you may not necessarily be focusing on but which affect people in general.”

So what can we conclude?

As the old song says, “Video Killed The Radio Star,” and the Internet is killing journalists, or at least news organizations like newspapers and television news shows that no longer provide the same value to their customers.

The Internet has slowly, but surely taken over the role of “see it here first” journalism. Even 24-hour news stations like CNN, MSNBC and FOX News do not have the ability to show news as it happens anywhere in the world. The Internet does.

Journalism is changing to meet both the demands of a changing world, but also to meet the changes in technology that are allowing anyone with a cell phone or a laptop to create journalism. Journalists used to need a massive organization behind them to produce news stories, photos or video. But inexpensive technology has changed that.

First person accounts within moments of an event are becoming invaluable pieces of journalism. Photos and videos, usually taken by cell phone, of events as they occur are only possible if the community participates in journalism. Professional journalists must change their thinking to see the value in this kind of journalism.

Professional journalists are people who can write well, edit, shoot photos or video; they will always be needed. A few national and international news organizations will continue to exist in order to cover national and international governments and business.

The Internet is not killing journalism; it is just killing an old model of providing news to people who want information. The new model is as different as printing on a printing press was to hand copying books. Journalism is transforming into something more interactive, where the consumer is also a producer. That is not a bad thing, but it will cause a lot of stress and disruption as the older model fails and the newer model finds ways to succeed.



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