Interactivity, transparency and collaboration – these are definitely not terms one would use to describe the news industry a few years ago, but that has changed with the advent of new technologies and social media. As consumers, we are increasingly empowered to voice out our opinions while the role of traditional journalists as gatekeepers are being challenged, maybe even threatened.
Apart from real-time updates in the form of text and pictures, applications such as Periscope (which has unsurprisingly been bought over by Twitter) and Meerkat allow instantaneous video reporting and insights to on-the-ground situations globally.
Increasingly, social media giants such as Facebook and Youtube have also jumped on the bandwagon, introducing live video options.
This has led to the rise of citizen journalism, where the power of the news agenda-setting shifts to the citizens. Consumers now have the luxury of gathering news from multiple sources. In addition, such news can provide checks and balances for news produced by major news conglomerates.
However, without any accountability, articles by citizen journalism might be simply baseless claims and news produced might show the lack of professionalism. The notion of accurate news reporting becomes questionable.
Yes, news spreads fast on social media today but that also means inaccurate news spreads fast too.
AP’s official twitter account was hacked and an inaccurate tweet was posted. The tweet was shared more than 3,000 times and caused the stock market to plunge.
Likewise, such journalists do not need to adhere to any ethical standards. Taking The Real Singapore for example, the couple behind the now-defunct socio-political site were arrested for sedition for apparently reporting falsified news on February 2015.
Regardless of its drawbacks, we feel that citizen journalism is an inevitable part of society today and will continue to persist, providing the public with alternative viewpoints. Therefore, whether credible or not, it is our responsibility as consumers to validate it from other news sources. Don’t be too trusting of everything you read online!
Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44mScTFFRlU