Journalism and its negotiation of online, the blogosphere and social media

Posted: June 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

This week’s topic presented by Terence and Yvonne is about the impact of social media in journalism. It is very interesting to discuss about this topic because there are few incidents just happened in Singapore which citizen journalism has shown its power in reporting news timely. General Election 2011 in Singapore and the flood in Ochard Road resulting from huge rain are where social media like facebook and twitter showed their power. People first came to know the result that the Workers’ Party won over PAP in Aljunied on Twitter about 3 hours before the official announcement. The very first photos of the flood in Ochard Road were taken by citizen journalists of The Temasek Review and uploaded to Facebook.

It is undeniable that social media and the Internet has facilitated the flow of information all over the world. Today almost every newspaper has its correspondents located overseas to report about news and current affairs at the site. With the help of the Internet, the job of these correspondents become much easier. They can just write a report and send it back to their newspaper even in a second. Even in the time constraint, they can write a facebook status and a twit on their twitter page about what’s happening at the place. With professionalism, they can condense the information and highlight the key events just in few sentences which will provide a very precise overview about the incident.

Therefore, there have been many scholars believing that social media including online newspapers, and social media will slowly take over the mainstream media although this may take a long time. However, I’d like to put forward a question, do you fully believe in what you read online? Referring to the example presented by Yvonne about the result of the General Election in Aljunied, although you got the result 3 hours before the official announcement, did you all believe it? Or only when the official result came, then you reconfirmed what it said? We all know that social media’s shortcomings are the incredibility and lack of professionalism. These two shortcomings make it still an alternative journalistic view beside mainstream media. What it reports may be wrong. In that case, people just say “Oh, it is just a social media platform!”. It does not need to bare any responsibility in what it’s reporting. But when mainstream media reports something wrong, it has to take the responsibility to the whole society. I think that’s why mainstream media is very careful in its reports. It has to go through many processes of checking, double-checking, editing. I suppose this is also the reason why mainstream media is “slower” than social media.





To me, I do not think that social media will take over mainstream media in the future. I think both of the media models will work hand in hand in serving the public’s craving for knowledge. And I think this will provide of with multiple points of view. We, readers, can have a choice in what we should and should not believe in.

  1. I do agree with you that mainstream media offers credible and professionally written news reports. However, we must not deny the social factor that the media plays in society. The demands of the audiences have a great impact on what the media is today, and also in the future. The reason why I predicted the phasing out of mainstream media is because I think that credibility and professionalism will decrease in importance. It is an inevitable mindset, because a whole lot of information can be found online. Even if a report is found to be phoney, it can be easily corroborated online. Eg. Even though Wikipedia is an ‘unreliable’ source, it is the first stop I check when I am researching on a topic, so that I know where to go forward. I am sure I am not alone in this practice. So unless, both mainstream and alternative media can find a foothold in the role they play in society, future generations will turn completely to online media, as is already happening now.

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