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Br(e)aking the News

Journalism, Politics and New Media

Janey Gordon, Paul Rowinski and Gavin Stewart

What is the breaking news in the world today? How did you find out this news? How do you know it is true? Was it reported ethically? What checks and balances are being put on the news media?
The answers to these questions reflect the themes of this book. The chapters are by experienced journalists, academics and practitioners in the field. They unravel and clearly present the recent and on-going developments in journalism and the press around the globe, including the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. Chapters deal with the phone hacking and data thefts in the UK that provoked a major inquiry into press ethics and standards. Twitter is examined and found to be a valuable tool for reporters in the Arab world and research shows how, in Australia, readers use Twitter to pass along news topics. Chapters also explore the use of the mobile phone to access news in sub-Saharan Nigeria, the role of media magnates in presenting political views in Europe, and Wikipedia’s representation of conflict. This collection of fourteen chapters by leading authors examines journalism as practised today and what we might expect from it in the future.

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DAVID R. BRAKE Journalists, User Generated Content and Digital Divides

Extract

There are both pragmatic and normative reasons that journalism scholars, practitioners and proprietors, particularly in regions with high penetra- tion of mobile phones and/or internet, see potential benefits from an increased use of User Generated Content (UGC) by mainstream media outlets. These organizations, especially those in the US and Europe, are facing increasing pressure on their resources and journalists are expected to do more with less (Deuze & Marjoribanks 2009; Lewis, Williams & Franklin 2008). Use of UGC from abroad is one way that journalists can partially compensate for the loss of foreign news bureaux and reporters, for example. There is also a belief that UGC could be an ef fective tool to boost loyalty to specific news outlets by involving their audiences more closely (Vujnovic et al. 2010). Alongside these practical pressures, however, there are also arguments that draw on earlier movements like public, civic or emancipatory journal- ism (Nip 2006) that the increasing dif fusion of devices capable of recording and transmitting information provides an opportunity to improve jour- nalism by allowing greater involvement of members of the public in the process of news making. Charlie Beckett expounds this argument clearly – the new media provide ‘a chance to replace professional exclusivity with a participatory inclusiveness that might lead to a greater variety among the people who can enter and even run the news media’ (Beckett 2008: 149). There can be little doubt that this opportunity exists, but there has hitherto been little consideration of the danger of what van Dijk...

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