From the first newspaper published in 1690 to the newspaper of today, shows just how far journalism has come. From what we see in the Publick Occurrences as purely a chunk of unrelated information walled on a page with little to no flow of content, to having “all the news that’s fit to print” in the New York Times, filled with images and related information under highly emotive and provocative headings. However, the common is, even with centuries separating the two, the focus on the publisher, appeal to authority and giving the reader the news of the day as a bundle, but at a cost.
The newspaper is an easy and accessible way to consume the news, as I do on a daily basis. But what has come to my attention through this week’s learning’s is that they are only printing and therefore allowing me to know what they think is ‘news’ and fit to print. There is a medium nonetheless that is more efficient at matching demand and supply: the internet. As I’ve learnt, audiences wish to be part of the conversation which has led to the notion of participatory culture and consequently user led content creation. As a result, journalism is becoming a profession in crisis. As Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, states “people may be less interested to receive journalism…which can’t be responded to, challenged or knitted in with other sources.” Which brings rise to citizen journalists, like me!
Nobody knows everything, everybody knows something. Although citizen journalism is “fantastic at times” (Andrew Marr) it is an open process, is continuously under development and has the absence of authority and therefore no quality control. With this concept dominating and also shaping the media today, the traditional content production foundation to becoming content prod/usage. Eric Raymond’s Cathedral vs Bazaar open source model is interesting as it gives insights into this understanding of the role of citizen journalism compared to regular journalism. For example, the bearing Zerohedge (one of the most frequented finance blogs) had on exposing the Goldman Sachs high frequency trading conspiracy. While some say that citizen journalism lacks authority and is inadequate because there is no quality control or gatekeepers, the fact a citizen journalist uncovered this surely has to give credit where its due.
With the formation of collective intelligence, we observe a shift in authority from publishers to writers, a shift in value (which types of news content are genuinely scarce and worth my attention?) and a shift in content from news as a bundle to niche content.