As we enter this new media landscape, Robert McChesney is most concerned with the future of journalism. There are a lot of factors that have transformed the news field into an industry in which we cannot truly rely on for accurate, professional and unbiased content.
One of the issues in the decline of journalism comes from the pressure of the market. A lot of these news industries have outside entities feeding them money to fund their work and as a result, the news has become goal oriented or politically driven to satisfy these outside groups.
The lack of quality content has given rise to citizen journalism and how the Internet can shape the shifting digital news era. When do we trust the content on a blog and when do we not trust it? Blogs can be a great source for opinions, but how do measure the validity and quality of their reporting? The Internet is a useful place for continuous dialogue, but it is unlikely to return journalism back to its original, dependable form. The push must come from the audience to demand better quality news.
Everyone uses and talks about Google, but few people understand the depth and complexities of the company like Ken Auletta. With his recent book Googled: The End of the World as We Know It, Auletta points out the successes and positives of Google, but also discusses the issues of privacy and open source content.
We rely on Google for so many things in our lives, and most of those things come at no cost. But are they really free? People give up loads and loads of personal information to use Google’s tools. “Don’t be Evil” is Google’s company motto, and we must hope they follow this saying with all the possible concerns with privacy. In addition to privacy, Google’s launch of Google books also raises questions about open source content. Can we trust Google with all this control and potential power? Google has been on top of the market for sometime, but what will happen when another force comes onto the scene like a Facebook to challenge Google? Will Google use all its power, at all costs, to stay on top? In Google, we trust.
The Internet does not go to sleep. Information can be accessed and sent out at all times of the day. The content we allow to be housed on the Internet, as well as the information we do not allow, can greatly affect our digital and non-digital lives.
Daniel Solove belives that one of the most pressing concerns of the new media landscape will be how we deal with the new environment of reputation on the Internet. Keeping your reputation respectable has always been a part of our lives, but the rapid pace of the Internet has made it more and more difficult to manage. The societal norms have shifted in how we deal with gossip, rumors and other hurtful tactics and it is up to us to police a new standard in dealing with this new direction.
The foundation of the Internet is based on the principles of creativity, freedom, openness and collaboration to name a few. However, according to Jonathan Zittrain, the Internet as well as most technology seem to be losing these characteristics by heading towards a more non-generative approach. In a non-generative environment, the ability to alter, collaborate and manipulate information is lost. The initial content released on the Internet will not have the capability of being changed and as a result, we will be forced to accept the information and views of a primary source.
In order to hold onto these original principles of the Internet, we must continue to produce generative ideas and products. Some of the world’s greatest inventions and ideas have spawned from generative concepts. If we restrict the Internet’s collaboration, then what will happen to our culture as a result? While non-generative tools can be helpful at certain times, the overall foundation must remain generative. It is imperative to keep this generative practice at the heart of the Internet and protect it all costs.
McChesney makes some valid remarks on the future state of journalism. One way we could get rid of the outside pressures from the money backers would be to implement some federal subsidies. This would also release the news group to from having to survive in the open market on their own. The government would make it unknown about where the money had come from and the news organizations the need the money the most would receive the grant. But how would we determine what news group would receive the money? Maybe viewership/readership can determine who gets the assistance and who doesn’t.
The everyday blogger McChesney is hesitant to back would not be on the money side of the federal subsidy. As far as I am concerned, when it comes to citizen journalism I think the best place for it is only with breaking news. News outlets cannot be everywhere all the time, they do not have the money or the time. And with most people nowadays having cameras and the Internet on their phones, these news groups have to use their resources to be up to the minute.
When it comes to gaining further, differing opinions on basic news events, then that is when I turn to the Blogging world. These bloggers do not have that much incentive to go and check their sources and do additional research, but I do not look for that in a blogger. I would never want the CNNs and BBCs of the world citing the minions of the blogosphere.
McChesney places the future of journalism in the hands of the audience. He points out that there has been a shift to entertainment as news because the audience has demanded this type of news. The news industry has capitalized on this new form of news, but they may have gone over the top with the celebrity news trend. While I think celebrity news can be important, we must not also lose sight of the important news stories from around the world. There is a difference between news as entertainment and making news entertaining. I think we have to make news entertaining for the younger generations if you want them to be interested. We can do this by implementing new technologies and leveraging the Internet to reach these growing and shifting audiences. The future of journalism is partly in the hands of the audience, but it also falls on the shoulders of the news organizations too.
The Internet is a double-edged sword. It can be the cornerstone of a successful marketing campaign and it can be the medium that releases a damageable video about one’s self. One of the main problems of this progressive, rapid Internet is some believe we have to find a way to police and regulate what content belongs on the Internet to protect the privacy of our society.
I think this might be too bold of a move and would step on the toes of Zittrain’s argument of a generative Internet. The responsibility of protecting one’s privacy and reputation should fall solely in the hands of the individual. If you are going to praise the Internet for all its abilities to find and send out information, then you also have to be able to take the negative sides of it. Bullying and gossip have been a part of our lives for a long time, but what makes the Internet a special case is that it provides attackers with anonymity. This just means we have to be more careful with our actions and use of the Internet. Protecting one’s self goes beyond simply putting certain pictures online or changing your privacy settings on Facebook. It reaches how you carry yourself in your everyday lives. Anything and everything you do could potentially reach the Internet and you have to be aware of this potential when you make your typically, daily decisions. There are some things that will find its way to the Internet even with the strictest of privacy settings and people must understand that this comes with the territory when we rely on the Internet like we do.
I understand the Internet can spread and reshape information about people. It is a whole lot meaner and less forgiving than other types of media. But on the other hand, the Internet also allows people to respond to criticism and false accusations unlike any other media before its time. The Internet can bite you in the rear, but it can also save your rear by giving you an equal voice to respond. In the past, if you were attacked in a local newspaper or television show you would not have the chance to defend yourself like you can on the Internet.