Tagged: News

Citizen Journalism – 9/11 Case Study

In 2001 the September 11 attacks happened. These were a series of suicide attacks against the United States of America in the New York and Washington areas. The iconic moment being when terrorists hijacked four passenger planes and flew two into the north and south towers of the world trade centre in New York. As well as this the third plane crashed into the pentagon and the fourth was destined for the United States Capitol Building in Washington however passengers tried to overcome the hijackers and forced the plane to crash into a field near Pennsylvania. Due to this tragedy

“nearly 3,000 people from all over the world died in the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. They Included 67 British people and around 300 New York fire-fighters. About 260 passengers and crew on board the four crashed aeroplanes were also killed”

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/14854816).

Many believe these attacks to be the rise of citizen journalism and the beginning of the digital age, e.g.

“September 11 was a wakeup call to us all on how we should be getting information. September 11 changed the Internet and the way we search and need information. People were reaching out and posting their own stories on web sites that we now would call a blog”

(http://www.mediarhetoric.com/blog/how-the-internet-changed-after-911-citizen-journalism-social-media-and-mobility).

Back to 2001 before the events of 9/11 and citizen journalism didn’t really exist. We didn’t have camera phones or social media. Shooting and uploading video of a news event was considered a specialist skill along with html and website construction. Fast forward to 2012 and everybody uses social media. Now anybody can create a website or have a blog. People would rather get their news from social networking sites such as Facebook statuses or tweets. As stated by Stuart Allen,

“This invitation to “be the media,” and thus to challenge traditional definitions of what counted as “news” as well as who qualified as a “journalist,” was very much consistent with the animating ethos of the Internet. Hundreds of refashioned websites began to appear over the course of September 11, making publicly available eyewitness accounts, personal photographs, and in some cases video footage of the unfolding disasters”

(Allan, Stuart (2002) Reweaving the Internet: Online news of September 11, cited in Zelizer, Barbie and Allan, Stuart (2002) Journalism after 9/11, Psychology Press, p.127).

Even news organisations are using social media to cover information they were previously unable to and collect information through comment boards, all in an effort to collate user generated content to build on or create new stories, e.g.

“Citizens, not reporters, were our information source besides the traditional news media. People were looking for ways to connect after this tragic event. Unfortunately, this was a void in the ‘new media’”

(http://www.mediarhetoric.com/blog/how-the-internet-changed-after-911-citizen-journalism-social-media-and-mobility).

In 2001 we would have just discovered email and be confirming stories via landline. The methods of information collection we use today did not exist and were in their very early stages, e.g.

“Many of the major features of how we live, communicate, and get our information today did not exist — or at least were in their very nascent stages — in 2001. The entire Internet had 500 million users and something like 3 million public websites. HTML 4.0, which gave the web its basic features, had just entered its final published state. Facebook and Gmail wouldn’t launch for another three years; Twitter for another five. Google was not yet a recognizable verb. Another difference: No one at school had cell phones, let alone wireless Internet access.”

(http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/09/10-years-can-be-a-long-time-the-world-wide-web-on-9-11/244795/).

When the events of 9/11 happened, it was a media frenzy that catapulted citizen journalism into the limelight when ordinary people could capture and report on stories that journalists couldn’t, e.g.

“Smart Phones, Social Media, Mobile Apps were all discovered because someone wanted to fill a need. Maybe 9/11 was the reason because we saw the potential of the Internet. Unfortunately, the Internet could not deliver the results it could today. Ten years taught us that we want information and we want it now”

(http://www.mediarhetoric.com/blog/how-the-internet-changed-after-911-citizen-journalism-social-media-and-mobility).

Local Newspapers – A Waste Of Time

Local newspapers are boring and increasingly becoming a waste of time. Obviously it varies from town to town but in my experience local news has never really interested me and it is something that is often over-looked by most people, many choosing to get their news online whether it is local or national.

Most local newspapers are distributed to houses freely in a desperate attempt to gain readers or even to keep their loyal readers. I believe the main readers of local newspapers are that of the older generation who have been around the area a long time and enjoy engaging with the happenings of their town. Although if the older generation were brought up with technology they too might find that they would rarely look at local news and only online if they were to.

“The biggest change to the local and national media landscape over the past two decades is the emergence of new technology. There is now much more choice for people using media – whether it is audio, video or text – as digital technologies and the internet offer alternatives to traditional media platforms.”

(Future for local and regional media – The Culture, Media and Sport Committee)

The rise of bloggers and social media has made local news redundant. Everybody knows what is happening in their town with a constant flow of updates from their local Facebook friends or the Twitterverse before any local newspaper can tell you what is happening. Because of this it makes the regular newspaper that is posted through the door just another bit of junk mail which is never looked at and eventually thrown away.

The fact is that there is no money in local news anymore. In Richard Jones, ‘What do we mean by local?’ he speaks about how he set up his own hyperlocal news website, Saddlesworth News. Although he was able to reach a significant number in terms of readership he found difficulty in persuading local advertisers to become involved with his online venture.

 “Most of the ads I did sell were to people who used the website as readers and had their own small online businesses”

(What do we mean by local? – Richard Jones)

Whether the local news is free or not there seems to be a major lack of money and a successful profit involved with producing it be it online or in traditional print. We cannot tell what will happen to local news but I feel it won’t be long until the traditional print of local newspapers becomes redundant and we use online if at all for our local news.

How the web changed the economics of news – in all media (Paul Bradshaw)

Looking at Paul Bradshaw’s blog on ‘How the web changed the economics of news – in all media’, it says how the economics of news has developed. In this blog he lists 12 points which outline some of the changes in how the media us being used, such as the devaluation of journalism and issues such as the funding of a constant media.

In point one it is indicated that the majority of the public will sweep over the news for a general overview which Bradshaw describes as ‘sporadic grazing’, however whilst this might be true for some there is still a large number of the population who religiously read their favourite newspaper everyday.

Point four it indicates that new technologies are reducing the cost of newsgathering and production to virtually nil but when you consider that newsgathering is the major cost for an organisation this cannot be true as people will want to pay to read quality journalism brought about by newsgathering and production costs.

Point six talks about the devaluation of certain types of journalism stating most people would go to social media for reviews or sites like amazon, itunes etc. However this is not true as people will go to a professional opinion before paying for something they want to see, they go to forums to discuss their opinions later for more detail. This points out that journalists must keep up to date with new technological advances (point 10) to keep ahead of the new monopolies journalists face from media advances.

http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2009/06/04/how-the-web-changed-the-economics-of-news-in-all-media/