The World Wide Web has become synonymous with research and a source of information. It has impacted the spread of knowledge, and expanded and increased global communication. The Internet has equally impacted Journalism, and has revolutionized how people read and are exposed to media events from around the world.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Internet is the cross cultural information highway that it has created. Individuals from around the world can meet in one local median to discuss and exchange ideas. In comparison to newspapers, the Internet is not restricted by printing overhead costs. Unlike many print publications that are suffering due to the current economic crisis, many online news outlets are watching their business expand and grow. Undoubtedly one of the more impressive impacts that the Internet has had on journalism is the voice that readers have now been given.
Online blogging, social networking sites, interactive news-forums have all given users a means with which they can be heard. Readers are given a greater opportunity to impact the news that they want to read. Global communication channels have opened up to smaller societies and cultures throughout the world, allowing greater access to what may have once been deemed obscure news. Journalists themselves have commented on this change in Journalism, as seen in a report published by the Online News Association and the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism . “A solid majority of those [Journalists] surveyed (57%) say the Internet is “changing the fundamental values of journalism.” The biggest changes, the respondents said, were a loosening of standards (45%), more outside voices (31%) and an increased emphasis on speed (25%).”
While users now have a greater say in what they want to see reported, has it affected the integrity of Journalism? The need to be the first to break a story will push many to quick, aloof writing, and often times this leads to mis-reporting, or just downright stupid mistakes that are allowed to slide through in the “heat of the moment” (check out the Iraq has vanished blog – even the bigger news outlets are not immune to this). It also seems that with the increasing number of users who are logging into news sites on a daily basis, we have created a culture of “enlightened,” or at least those who consider themselves such. I laugh out loud at some of the comments that people leave on blogs, or have your says, where blatant stupidity has also accessed this information superhighway. Sure, Internet research has facilitated the access to information, but this really does not mean that you should advertise the fact that you still know nothing. :p But hey, what can I say, I’m just as much of an Internet junkie, and I’m sure that I’ve had my moments in blogs… “suz….really, what were you thinking?” hehe. And this, is my thought of the day.