The convergence of journalism and internet has led to interesting developments in the writing world. No longer does one have to hold an appointment in a prominent newspaper or magazine to broadcast his or her views and opinions – with the right platform and a reasonable amount of followers and subscribers, citizen journalists can make an impact comparable to that of a professional journalist.
Perhaps that’s why media elites have been expressing worries regarding changes in their industry. According to a poll conducted by The Atlantic and National Journal, 65% of media insiders feel that journalism has been hurt more than helped by the rise of news consumption on the internet.
Truth is, I can’t help but feel that the rise of the internet as a journalistic arena has somewhat marred the sanctity of writing. Quality takes a backseat to quantity as some non-professionals proclaim themselves writers based on stuff they posted on sometimes unregulated blogs and forums. And while there are, of course, many brilliant amateur writers all over the internet, for every amazingly articulate citizen journalist are more of what many unflatteringly label as “keyboard warriors”.
The desensitization of people as contributed to by the merging of journalism and the internet is another issue that causes me discomfort. About a week ago, I was on the bus with a friend, going back to school after having lunch. Along the way, we encountered a traffic jam revealed to be caused by a traffic accident – the driver of an ambulance had somehow lost control of his or her vehicle, crashing it right into the road divider. Now before the scene even came into view, the woman sitting in front of me had already whipped out her iPhone in gleeful preparation. She then proceeded to take quite a few pictures from various angles as we passed the ambulance. Her satisfied smile as she settled down to upload those onto Twitter (wasn’t peeking, just that the angle was right) really disturbed me.
Of course, effects related to the conjoining of internet and journalism are not limited to negative ones; positive impacts are also abound. Some such impacts include the ability of citizen journalism to help local newspapers endure by making the latter more interactive, thereby increasing the connection between readers and the publication, as well as the capability of citizen journalism in broadening the type of events covered by the media, since traditional reporters are not omniscient.