Civic Voices, Empowerment and Media Literacy in the Digital Era
Chapter 8 – Uneasy Relationships: Journalists, Social Media, and the Implications for News
~ Chapter 8 ~
UNEASY RELATIONSHIPS: JOURNALISTS, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR NEWS
Stephen A. Jukes
IMAGES OF atrocity, carnage and grief flow into our screens from the streets of Damascus, Cairo and Bahrain. They fill our televisions, laptops, i-Pads and mobile phones. Unedited and raw: this is today’s depiction of what was once, in hope, called the Arab Spring. It is no longer the privileged preserve of foreign correspondents, now, arguably, a dying breed. But is it journalism? Does this “user generated content,” “social media,” “citizen journalism” or “citizen witnessing,” as it has variously been called, depict the facts or is it propaganda; truth or lies; objective or subjective? The boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred and with this blurring emerges a complex and tense relationship between journalists and the public. One thing is certain, that relationship has changed for good.
The aim of this chapter is to explore the uneasy relationship and its implications for news. It examines briefly the historical context for the upheaval in today’s news industry and the collapse of the industrial business model that dates back to the introduction of the mass printing press in the late 19th century. Drawing on contemporary examples of citizen journalism in the international news arena and studies of newsroom attitudes, it looks at changing practices and the reaction of mainstream news organizations to social media, including what has been a tendency to pour scorn on its proponents as not “proper” or “professional...
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