Today we are in the middle a digital revolution, a technological shift which threatens the survival of many industries. In my latest post I have been discussing the possibilities to how industries can join the new online market and how they might adapt to a technological age. As of today many industries, especially the media industries seem to refuse to let go of their old business models. Personally I find myself thinking a bit like a technological determinist, we have to accept cultural and social changes which comes with new technologies, it makes no sense to resist. We have always invented new things that have changed our way of behavior and communication, very often to the better, so why not this time?

Power and control; probably the key words to why this revolution is met with so much resistance. Politics and news have walked hand-in-hand for a very long time, and both politicians and media owners have become very powerful through such cooperation. The Internet builds a foundation for a true democratic society, good for the consumer, but bad for authorities.

But let us look at the possibilities. I am not going to focus on the possibilities to maintain control, but the possibility to maintain business and revenue. The problem with industrial media is that it has always been centralized. The collection, production and distribution of news were built on a one-to-many model which gave these industries advantages through gatekeeping. They were able to filter and decide what was the news of the day, they had the power to judge what was important and what we were supposed to think. This screams propaganda, doesn’t it?

Today we are citizen journalists. We also decide what is the news of the day, judge what is important and influence what people should think. The Internet decentralized the news-market; it took the control out of the authorities’ hands. For democracy, this is a victory, but I still think that we need these media industries. We need them for quality control and distribution.

Many people can write a very convincing and important blog about a certain issue, but most people do not have the resources to check the accuracy of this information, I am sure many citizen journalists do, but to be honest, most of us do not. Most of us write and publish, without having researched the facts and background of the content.

With platforms like Twitter information can be aggregated into topics. When I post this blog to Twitter, no one will probably notice it, but if I use the hashtag #gatewatchers, it is a very different matter; my blog will end up in a very interesting search, which suddenly enhances the value of my blog-post.

What media-industries could do is to change their way of finding information. Instead of being told by editors: “Today we should be focusing on the U.S election”, journalists could use these aggregation-platforms to search for interesting and important news. Not only will we be a part of what the news is, but originally the news would be written by citizen journalists and the content would be made out of our opinions, not the editors. The role of the media industries would be quality control, to improve an already good piece of journalism as well as to distribute it to make sure it gets attention from the right people.

At least I would find the news much more trustworthy in the way that I know it is not just a piece of propaganda, it is something someone out there really cares about. In this way, I can see a very much improved public sphere.

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Comments
  1. Your notions of the accurateness of citizen journalism is right on the mark. Citizen journalist capture the news on the moment, there is no background to the story, no prior knowledge to where this event has eventuated from. Thats where the notions of professional journalism will never die. The “prior knowledge” of an event comes from pre-published news stories, in blogging and tweeting, there opinions are just being stated, thats where the buffer of gatekeepers comes into play with the monitoring of published material, free from opinions and unconscious and implicit biases of journalists at Bruns (2009) states.

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  2. ralphn91 says:

    Being able to make your posts more noticeable by utilising hashtags is a great concept in new media platforms. I think in coincides with last weeks long tail theory, in which there is so much content is out there, it’s really hard make your content stand out. As you said, hashtags allow you to become part of a particular conversation, and much for searchable for other users. More importantly you’re making yourself known to those who are particularly interested in that subject, and are a more likely to pay attention to your post.

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  3. […] investigation, to the development of retrieval and analytical skills. I think the concept of ‘gatewatchers’ is reoccurring in many facets of the internet beyond citizen journalism and is a reflection of […]

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    • mrjuzl22 says:

      Yeh I agree, we still need conventional journalism, otherwise many of us citizen journalists will not have any news to write about. One thing I do love about citizen journalism though, is some of the footage that they are able to capture. Footage that would never have been caught be more conventional media sources. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan is a good example. News channels were only able to gather footage from the chopper, but on the ground, the people actually going through it were able to capture the most amazing footage on the ground.

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      • heien says:

        Yes exactly, via citizen journalism traditional journalists can gather stories and footage from where it is actually happening, real experiences from people, not assumptions. This is valuable information and should not be ignored even if it is “one point of view” and “unprofessional”. Check the facts, find another piece with the opposite opinion from another citizen journalist, compare them, print it and publish it. The news would turn out to be quite interesting.

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  4. fskentzos says:

    I was very hesitant when joining Twitter and hashtags were a foreign concept but know I use it all the time. I have a lot of things going on and often don’t have time to watch the news or sought through news outlets both in traditional and new media. If there is an event I find it so much easier to search on Twitter. I know it may not always be accurate but I’m able to get many different views and different media about the subject and recently I have noticed the content previews I read about a while ago. in this article http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/06/twitters-expanded-tweets-now-includes-article-excerpts-and-video/ I get the ‘footnotes’ of events and it keeps me informed. It gives you an overview of current events from your interests/the people or things that you follow. It’s a great new way to gain information that doesn’t have the power and control struggle that you mentioned in your post.

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  5. Gavp says:

    I do have issue with one concept of your new business model where journalists use aggregation style researching to come up with their stories. You previously denounce twitter as an questionable source for credible information then suggest that journalists use it to lay the foundations of their articles. I believe investigative journalism is strong as the competition for print media jobs increases due to the lack of opportunity, quality of written work across most broadsheet newspapers is good and online news sources often provide very well researched articles.

    The solution for the gatekeeper issue is quality of work. Yes newspapers and the media are owned by people and companies with ulterior agenda’s but they are fundamentally a business which needs to sell to survive. As long as journalists pursue quality stories with professionalism the investigative reporter will survive.

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  6. heien says:

    I am not saying that Twitter is an incredible source of information; I am saying that many people do not check their information and the accuracy of what they post on Twitter. Twitter in my opinion is only a platform in which information can be found and exchanged, a very useful platform in that way due to the #hashtags and the possibility to sort out your subjects by the use of them.

    I also believe that they will survive, but for very different reasons. I believe that we need them for publishing and quality control, not for their stories. I feel that journalists do not pursue stories with professionalism anymore, I think journalists have become lazy, forgetting what investigative journalism is all about, and even if they want to reveal a true story they are many times stopped by their gatekeepers. So by letting the citizens be the writers, traditional journalists can focus on the quality control, background check and really put together proper stories from the perspective of the public, which in a way is their duty as the 4th estate.

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  7. oliviahn2121 says:

    This reading is very thought out and informative. Some excellent points ere made especially that “The Internet builds a foundation for a true democratic society, good for the consumer, but bad for authorities”. When ordinary people holding no position of power take to the Internet, a much more improved public sphere appears. No longer are we forced to watch political agenda after political agenda but instead immerse ourselves in issues that people really do care about. Although Twitter, for example, is used by shallow celebrities and political figures with underlying schemes, it still contains an unsuspected depth which encompasses all members of the public. The ordinary man is now able to voice his opinion thus the process if interaction doesn’t change but the platform where we connect does. As mentioned in the above text, hash tagging allows people to access a huge pool of information at simply the click of a button and big companies can now understand consumer wants and needs therefore changing the way they do business. Overall, it is no what the Internet is doing to us that is important but what we are doing to it.

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  8. […] Image URL: https://communicationandmediastudies.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/gatekeeping-vs-gatewatchers/ […]

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