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Everything these days has got some relation to the internet no matter how weak the link, including journalism. As stated in the post about politics, the news has moved onto the internet is because traditional methods of paper, radio, and television does not appeal to the younger generation. Yes, these methods still have a place in journalism, but with the decline numbers of audience, soon news agencies will have to close down. So is the internet the saving rope of journalism? Yes and no.

For news agencies it provides a new entry into the market. CNN, CNA, BBC, etc all have websites dedicated to the news. Not only are the updates on stories quicker than print or telecast, they are able to post videos and pictures to further aid in telling a story. There are comment sections for readers to add their opinions and discuss with the writer or other readers. It can create a news community where discussions can take place. Also it archives all the stories so at any time you can go back and read the story. It also gives the readers the ability to read stories on the go. And most importantly, it reduces the use of paper, ink, oil, and electricity which is always good for a company to be more environmentally friendly.

However, online journalism allows anybody to be a journalist. Therefore not all sources are credible. While professional journalists in reputable news agencies go out and gather information by interviewing experts and other forms of research, a 13 year old kid could be covering the same story but gathering information by reading other sources, piece them together, and tell the story. The kid’s story definitely would be way less credible than the professional journalist, but how can you tell on the internet? And so journalism can take a dive into amateurism because readers may take the 13 year old kid’s story and preach it like fact.

So will online journalism take over the traditional methods of news telling? I don’t think so because we still need something to read on the toilet.

Here is an interesting read on how the internet has “hamsterized” journalism that I found on http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2011/06/has-the-internet-hamsterized-journalism.ars:

Has the Internet "hamsterized" journalism?

Hey there newspaper reporter—has your broadband-powered job got you filing not only conventional stories, but blogging, video blogging, Facebooking, podcasting, picture posting, and Tweeting? If so, you’ll be happy to know that the Federal Communications Commission earned its keep this week by coming up with a term for this ever growing set of digital duties: the “hamsterization” of American journalism.

“As newsrooms have shrunk, the job of the remaining reporters has changed. They typically face rolling deadlines as they post to their newspaper’s website before, and after, writing print stories,” the FCC notes in its just released report on The Information Needs of Communities.

Motion for motion’s sake

The good news about this online convergence, the survey observes, is that it allows print journalists to produce short and longer versions of stories, the web versions of which can be continuously updated as the situation develops.

But, “these additional responsibilities—and having to learn the new technologies to execute them—are time-consuming, and come at a cost. In many newsrooms, old-fashioned, shoe-leather reporting—the kind where a reporter goes into the streets and talks to people or probes a government official—has been sometimes replaced by Internet searches.”

Thus, those “rolling deadlines” in many newsrooms are increasingly resembling the rapid iteration of the proverbial exercise device invented for the aforementioned cute domestic rodent. The observation was first made by Dean Starkman in a Columbia Journalism Review piece titled “The Hamster Wheel.”

The “Hamster Wheel” isn’t about speed, the report quotes Starkman as saying. “It’s motion for motion’s sake… volume without thought. It is news panic, a lack of discipline, an inability to say no.”

Journalists complain that where newsrooms used to reward in-depth stories, “now incentives skew toward work that can be turned around quickly and generate a bump in Web traffic.”

“None of this is written down anywhere, but it’s real,” Starkman contends. “The Hamster Wheel, then, is investigations you will never see, good work left undone, public service not performed.”

Bureaucratize the phrase

These observations impressed the team leader of the FCC document, journalist Steven Waldman. “Since I now work at the Federal government, I decided to bureaucratize the phrase a little bit,” Waldman told the FCC at Friday’s Open Commission meeting, where the report was unveiled. “And we are now referring to this as ‘hamsterization’.”

It isn’t likely that the Commission is actually going to do anything about this reporters-as-hamsters problem. The FCC, it should be remembered, has statutory authority over newspapers only to the extent that their owners try to buy radio or television stations. So most of the recommendations focus on TV and radio signal regulatory reform.

But the document does wonder about any further deregulation of the government’s always controversial newspaper/TV-radio station cross ownership rules, which the FCC voted to loosen in 2007. The latest rules make it easier for entities to own newspapers and TV stations in the top 20 Nielsen Designated Market Areas of the US. But they are being challenged in court, and the Commission is currently reevaluating the provisions, as it must all of its media ownership caps every four years.

“It is easy to see how newspapers and TV stations merging operations could lead to efficiencies and improved business models that might result in more reporting resources and therefore help reach the policy goal of enhanced ‘localism’,” the report observes.

On the other hand, it is also easy to see how such mergers could simply improve the bottom line of a combined company without actually increasing the resources devoted to local newsgathering in a community. Therefore, we are not persuaded that relaxing ownership rules would inevitably lead to more local news, information or reporting or that it would inevitably lead to less.

The Commission should also “consider looking at shared services agreements with the same question in mind—whether the arrangements contribute to the overall media health of the community,” the survey’s recommendations in this area conclude.

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Written by Jacob

April 20, 2012 at 5:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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