Journalism is changing – and rapidly. Reportage and commentary are no longer left to professional hacks. Instead, ‘citizen journalists’, armed with mobile-phone video recorders, Blackberries and laptops, offer their own views. An ever-growing army of bloggers is challenging the supremacy of the commentariat. On the world wide web, anyone can be a journalist: numerous ‘public media’ websites – from NowPublic to YouTube to Friction.tv – allow the man in the street to post his own on-the-spot reports or his opinions about the big issues of the day.
Traditional journalists are feeling the heat. Newspapers such as the Guardian and the Telegraph have embraced blogging, investing millions of pounds into their online presence and into the creation of ‘blogospheres’ in which their own writers, and invited guests, can comment on events. Even Rupert Murdoch, that doyen of the old newspaper world, recognises that significant changes are occurring. The next generation, says Murdoch, will have ‘a different set of expectations about the kind of news they will get, including when and how they will get it, where they will get it from and who they will get it from’.
Should the opening up of the world of journalism be celebrated – or does it raise questions about the denigration of journalistic objectivity? Some in the traditional media bemoan the flood of cheap opinion on the web (where, according to one writer, the ‘cult of the amateur’ is dominant). But isn’t it the traditional media themselves that encouraged the expression of empathy over explanation, attachment over analysis, feeling over fact? Does the focus on the effects on journalism of Web2.0 allow old media practitioners off the hook?
Many will welcome the demise of the old ‘highly centralised’ world of journalism, but what will it mean for objectivity? At a time when anyone can be a news reporter, and when professional news reporters seem less critically minded than in the past, how do we know what is true and what is not?
|Professor George Brock|
head of journalism, City University London; author, Out of Print: newspapers, journalism and the business of news in the Digital Age
|Dr Andrew Calcutt|
principal lecturer in journalism, University of East London; editor, Proof; co-author, Journalism Studies: a critical introduction
editor, spiked; columnist, Big Issue; contributor, Spectator; author, A Duty to Offend: Selected Essays
|Brendan O'Neill editor, spiked; columnist, Big Issue; contributor, Spectator; author, A Duty to Offend: Selected Essays|
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