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Is New Media a Threat to Journalism?

Here is a quick question for your discussion. I’m writing a short column on the topic for a magazine (ironically) and while I’ve already written most of it thought it’d be a better article with your ideas. The topic:

Will the growing popularity of digital user-generated content pose a threat to the traditional journalist?

I’ve been given the task of writing in the affirmative and presenting the case for digital user generated content – although don’t have to take the extreme.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Josh P says:

    Where I think new media can give traditional journalism a run for its money is with the amount of time it takes to break a store.

    Generally, the average Joe will know about and be able to report events faster than a traditional journalist.

    The problem is that user-generated content can sometimes be incredibly inaccurate compared to traditional journalism as the average user doesn’t have to go through any “accountability mechanisms.”

  2. Jacob says:

    I think so — digital news has its advantages; the use of hypertext and linked content, the speed in which new content can be produced and published, and the (relatively) low cost in comparison to traditional journalism.

    There is also more interactivity in the digital format – forums and comment sections are much more viable than the old fashioned “letter to the editor.”

  3. I definitely think so! The accessibility of digital media, and the viral nature of the internet allowing that media to spread in unprecedented ways definitely makes digital news a big threat to traditional journalism.
    The fact that anyone can create content online and spread it through social networking sites and such means that the traditional journalist and news media are going to face an uphill task getting their message out there. As far as I know and can tell, most of the younger generation, and a lot of the middle generation too no longer pick up a newspaper or magazine and instead prefer to access the news and any information they need online. I know I do!

  4. Louis Gray says:

    The answer is absolutely. Just take a look at the Alexa (yes, Alexa…) charts I ran last week on old media vs. new media. They’re plummeting!

    Alexa Web Statistics Show Old Media Influence Nosedive
    http://www.louisgray.com/live/2007/10/alexa-web-statistics-show-old-media.html

  5. There are stats that show TV viewership is lower now then ever. Most of it is attributed to blogs.

    Imagine that people want raw, unedited news not censored by the government. Whoda’thunk’it!

  6. Michael says:

    In the short term, no…bloggers who blog about news rely on traditional journalism for most of their posts. Here and there, they cite an unreported factoid heard by word of mouth. But most of the time, they link online print and broadcast news.

    In the long term, yes…there are so many bloggers who have plenty of time collectively to obsess over pet peeves. Swift Boat blogs poked holes in Kerry’s record. Blogs poked holes in Dan Rather’s reportage of Bush’s National Guard record. Just recently, a blog I read occasionally had a hefty sum of links that rounded out coverage of the Jena 6 episode. The average reporter will not spend nights and weekends off the clock gathering in-depth evidence over any story. But plenty of bloggers will.

    Perhaps the end “threat” to traditional journalism will be that journalistic standards will be threatened. Journalists, pushed up against deadlines, will throw together a story on the least bits of evidence they can find, put a spin on it, throw it out there willy nilly (Rush Limbaugh calls this a “media drive-by,” as in a drive-by shooting), and then let bloggers find out the nitty gritty details, which they can then report on from their cubicles at News Corps General Inc., Intl.

  7. Sotek says:

    No. I don’t think so. Mainstream media and old-fashioned journalism aren’t going anywhere – at least not anytime soon. I think we underestimate the importance of traditional media in favor of technology. Btw.. did anybody noticed user comments on NYtimes.com? I’m telling you – it’s all about adaptation.

  8. Justin says:

    Yes and no.

    Traditional journalism skills can be easily moved to the Web, which gives journalists an upper-hand in the writing department. They know how to best capture readers. Old media have to set a firm foothold in the online world.

    But now, they have competition. They have to be less biased or the blogging world will call them out on it. They won’t be able to control the news in the same way as they have before.

    Old media have to transfer their skills to the online market, which can easily be done since they’ve been using these skills for years.

  9. Dan Cruz says:

    Hell Yeah it does!

    You can hear it in the voices and analysis of journalists in all older forms of media such as radio, newspaper and TV.

    Any chance they get they discredit the internet and Blogging. I guess it’s understandable as they’re just trying to position themselves…

    I think the smart ones are the ones that embrace the change and integrate new forms of media into their current method of delivery (most are you can see newspapers are all pushing their writers to have Blogs, podcast, etc)…

    But is it a threat?

    Oh yeah… were all fighting for people’s attention.

  10. As much as I hate to say it, traditional journalism will never go away.

  11. Armen says:

    I think Sotek is on the money.

    Although new media is gaining rapid ground, I think it’s partially due to the fact more people are digesting more content from more and more places. But like Jeremy says, traditional journalism will never go away. It may have to adapt, but it won’t go away.

  12. Jeremy says:

    Old media is being consolidated, ripped into, and given a true run for its money.

    There are several factors at play:

    1 – Credibility – Much of old media is having its credibility challenged, weakened, or even destroyed – the handful of quality bloggers and content is posing a huge challenge to many average or mediocre media sources

    2 – Declining Value of Avg. Content – As more and people get into the content creation game, average to slightly above average content is becoming more and more of a commodity – why pay an entry level (or upper level) journalist $35K per year when a blogger is willing to do better quality work for much less? Of course, there is a lot of crap quality blogging out there, but there is also a rising amount of good quality stuff. It might get to the point that many old media companies have to hire credible & respected bloggers to stay alive.

    Personally, I don’t trust reams of information that supposedly high quality old media companies provide – as much of it has been proven to be lies, damned lies, and statistics. A handful of bloggers has started to grow to replace the old media companies I once loved – and someday may well largely wipe them out.

    The competition coming from home based (or Thailand based, China based, whatever) bloggers is heating up – if someone is happy with $2K per month because they can easily live on $1K per month in some of the most beautiful places in the world, how can they not undercut traditional media companies who must pay a higher salary, plus management and office costs, etc?

    The world is changing very fast, we are on the cusp of many old media companies going under or being acquired by the best of the best.

    Of course, the problem is so many people blindly trust the information they read in old media sources – if the average person stops trusting them, watch out. Now how to bring about this Matrix like revolution?

  13. Jason Falls says:

    I absolutely think it is. With the steady decline of print media sales (mostly newspapers) and their scramble to figure out the world of social media and user-generated content, I can see “journalists” simply being aggregators and editors of the citizen newsroom. Granted, there will have to be some meeting point between that extreme and what we have now, but few journalists get social media and as a result, bloggers and those who do are passing them by as reliable information sources.

  14. peteej says:

    There’s no threat, that’s over. When you have the MSM regularly referencing popular websites for their top news stories, then I would think that the roles have reversed. Look at the major news sites – they are all on-board with “citizen journalists” who post their content for use by the news organization. Look at the shield law cases with regard to bloggers. I don’t think there’s any question that new media is now journalism. The definition is just changing with the times. Besides, traditional journalism is heavily influenced by a small group where new media has hundreds of thousands of voices. And I love it. :)

  15. Shark Girl says:

    I think so too. I haven’t read a newspaper in a long time, nor do I visit subscription based news sites.

    I guess journalists don’t understand how the digital news travels so fast in the Internet and how search engines cache it. If they did, they wouldn’t bother create “subscription only” news content.

    I saw an article I wanted to read but the originator of the news had locked it down for a pay-only type access, so I Googled the free paragraph that was showing, and other sites had already posted the news for free.

    I get all my news from the Internet and couldn’t even tell you what news stations or radio stations have for content.

    Wasn’t it the New York Times that stopped online subscriptions because their subscriptions went down? Imagine that.

    Also, journalists are told what to report and what not to report. I think Americans are sick of the unbalanced reporting with traditional news. I got my news out to a world-wide audience when our local CBS station tried to hide it. Who needs a journalist? Just blog your news and reach more people.

  16. Sonia Simone says:

    New social media is a stake in the heart of traditional journalism. It’s taking some time to finish dying, but it’s already gone.

    That’s not to say that a more traditional trained journalistic mode won’t evolve within new social media, because I’m sure it will. The training, traditions, resources and ethics of the best of traditional journalism will become part of some corners of new social media–those things are valuable and good. But the old style, one-way “we report it, you consume it” is dead.

  17. Bob J. says:

    This depends on your definition of “new media.”

    Personally, I think major blogs on the likes of Gawker Media and Weblogs Inc operate more like traditional media than “user generated content.” If you count them, yes, they’re giving old media a run for the money.

    However, if like me, you lump them in with mainstream media, there’s a different picture entirely. How many “citizen bloggers” are out conducting interviews and attending press conferences? How many spend three weeks working on a 4000 word post full-time?

    While Perez Hilton and the like may get plenty of reference in mainstream media, how many blogs simply regurgitate and add commentary on what was in the New York Times this morning?

    I don’t think traditional media is going anywhere, though the format is changing.

    That said, with the speed of information on the internet, I fear the day when reporters are expected to write a full store about a murder on their Blackberry ten minutes after it happens, before the body has even been moved….

  18. I definitely think so. It’s been happening for years now. The real journalists are the people and the pros can only tell so much of a story. That’s what makes it real news… the input and knowledge of those outside the industry; those online.

  19. Robert Tatum says:

    New media is a threat to traditional journalism because of the freedom of innovation that is forcing traditional media to change the way that it provides the news to its readers.

  20. Emon says:

    It is a threat! And I’m glad it is. Because a good journalist, no matter what changes occur in technology, will embrace newer story-telling methods.

    I’m sure newspaper journalists felt the same way when television took its baby steps. What’s different about this time is that the divide between story and audience has gotten rid of so much of the middle-people, if I may, that a purer form of journalism has the chance to prevail.

    We used to hope the right individual will put on her journalism badge and bring us the truth. New media has made it possible for her to no longer seek approval. Yes, the wrong kind has access to new media as well. But we, the audience, know better. I’m just happy to have seen new media born in front of my eyes.

  21. Travis says:

    Darren, I’m sure you know this since you do photography as a hobby, but yes – photojournalism is certainly threatened by the “average joe” in a big way. I can’t recall the details, but I know some major news outlets have used photos submitted by the “man on the street” rather than paid photographers for breaking news lately.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this continues to evolve moving forward.

  22. Domtan says:

    Indeed it is. One has a cellphone cam, takes pictures of an event with it, gets online, and blogs about it. That’s conveying news very fast. However, traditional journalism has more global reach, to a certain degree. This is also debatable, ofcourse.

  23. Anon Guy says:

    One of the problems with the touted “new media” is that most “citizen journalists” aren’t journalists. They are more pundits or opinion columnists. Part of real journalism is covering stories without bias and topics that may not personally interest them but they do it because that’s their job and responsibility.

    But that’s almost the complete opposite of bloggers (mainly political) and how they operate. They choose the sexiest stories and wear their beliefs on their sleeves, because it’s more fun and easier than researching and presenting both sides. The vast majority go into a story on some politician or policy with partisan bias and “report” it that way. That tends to serve the craving for red meat that followers of the same political persuasion want, but it isn’t journalism by any measure.

    Even some of the examples people use for the rise of the “new media” have been helped out by traditional news outlets. Yes, some guy with a camera at a rally catches something controversial and throws it up on Youtube and maybe 300K viewers see it. But that’s not journalism. That’s more like a gumshoe tailing a wayward spouse. The real work is what the attorney does with it.

    Almost every big moment touted by the “citizen journalist” crowd has only taken off when the traditional outlets run and expand on it. The MSM still delivers the news to the vast majority of the world and do it in a way that can usually be trusted to be somewhat unbiased.

  24. New media is only a threat to old media if old media ignores new media. So far the old guard has taken its time in adopting emerging technologies.. but times are beginning to change. I did my MA thesis on the architectural implications of citizen journalism, and in many ways my research moved beyond spatial concerns. There is such an interesting dynamic between the democratic possibilities of journalism and the cultural necessity for “information curators” (aka editors) that are acting to foreground information that needs to be aknowledged and discussed. I have an introduction to my research available on my blog Serial Consign if anyone is interested. I am gradually publishing my research and diagrams and welcome any comments and opinions.

  25. chtanxw says:

    Let me tell you one fact : my son (5 yrs old) and daughter (8 yrs old) no longer watching TV (whether it is HDTV or cable TV or whatever TV…) . They only want to watch Youtube and other no-ads programmes. I just disposed my TV in my living room. Four of us, myself, wife and kids, use computers (both online and offline) more than anything else.

    So when I read this post, I can only say there are still many people rely on traditional media to get information. When these old-minded people being phased out, the traditional media industrial will definitely in a serious position. It may take many ten years but it may also come very soon!

    On traditional media are more accurate than new digital media. I don’t think so! We have seen many countries have imposed restriction on media publication. The information are so called official but filtered! So no accuracy is asured.

    There is a report said that newspaper is one of the ten possible extinct business in the next 10 years! Traditional journalists may have to shift to new channels. They still can survive in the new media platform provided they can meet the demand of the new generation.

  26. As a whole, user generated content may not have the sophistication of seasoned journalists and editors.

    Also, user generated content often uses the output from traditional media to reference and consolidate into new perspectives.

    Professional Journalism has a number of professional checks and balances to avoid reputation lost and lawsuits. User generated content may not be as compelled to be accurate or factual.

    But on the positive side, it does allow for the less commercial to become viral.

  27. I would love to see that article. I think user generated content is the future of journalism. There a couple of reasons for this:

    1. Look at the generation of children coming up after us 30 + year olds. They want ‘bite’ size information and real opinions. Not this editorially derived fantasy news! Real stuff.

    2. Perceptions of authority have changed. The news media is still in control and authoritative but it’s not open to critique. We can talk about what they say but can we shape the debate?

    3. The future of technology is ubiquitous, user generated, user sponsored content because it’s more honest, open to more points of view and ultimately more trusted (already). I would argue that user generated content is often of a higher standard than most journalistic endeavors.

    That said… nothing keeps an old paradigm in place better than money.

  28. James says:

    Yes it is a thread in the sense that the traditional journalist loose the social status. But often if a traditional journalist maintains a blog, this blog will be successful!

  29. The Dissident says:

    Fresh out of journalism school and $40k poorer, I can certainly hope that user-created content and citizen reporting does away with mainstream news created by Ivory tower dwelling “journalists.” (My classmates would kill me for that one!)

    It doesn’t take fancy-pants training to be a journalist – you just need to go out there and do it.

    And that scares the journalist types to death. I saw it in the faces and words of my classmates – they didn’t understand new/social/collective media, and instead of try and comprehend how these new tools will change their careers, many of them (faculty included) stuck their fingers in their ears and told themselves “bloggers are amateurs; I’m a REAL journalist.” Even the ones specializing their studies in new media tried to convince themselves that they were somehow better than the guy on the street with a camera and a blog.

    Well, quite simply, they’re not, and 40 weeks and thousands of dollars later, journalism school taught me that groups of regular people can handle the news quicker, more accurately and most interestingly than some condescending snob working for a newspaper or magazine.

    (And I’m not bitter, I just wish I had made that realization BEFORE I cut the check!)

  30. Rhys says:

    Yes, and we’re seeing it now in the UK.

    Recently, there’s been a bit of hoohaa with “Misrepresentation”, traditional media companies lying to it’s customers (i.e. us) when covering stories. There’s been times where things have happened on factual TV shows that didn’t happen, and one case where the news was spun so badly that it was a blatent lie.

    The worst case was phone in competitions, where people rang in who had no chance of winning. These peole had paid £2 ($4) to enter, so a lot of people were pissed off. Even when the story broke, the channels in question didn’t mention it.

    The beneficiary from all of this? Online. A lot of traditional news sources are fairly powerful and often have an agenda to sell news, online news sources either are fairly straight, or they are so many of them that none of them have huge power.

  31. Neerav says:

    Darren you might be interested in an interview I did at
    what its like to be freelance journalist with a journalist friend who’s written for Fairfax and other big papers where I asked similar questions about the future of newspapers vs blogging etc

  32. Anon Guy says:

    Another problem that sometimes fails to be noticed is like the posters above where one mentioned how his kids only like to watch YouTube and other no-ad programs and the other hasn’t read a newspaper in years and doesn’t want to pay for a subscription so they try and find it for free on Google. Guess what? It costs money to unearth news and put it out there.

    “Citizen journalists” without an axe to grind aren’t going to go out and cover the often boring city council meeting, or the fire on the other side of town, or an in-depth undercover investigation into a child porn ring. These take a lot of time, talent and professional standards. All of which entails a pay structure and business model that won’t be covered by Adsense clicks.

  33. Garri says:

    Quick answer ‘no’.

    They said the internet would sound the death knell for books, it hasn’t, quite the opposite!

    They said digital music downloads would kill the music industry, it hasn’t, quite the opposite!

    You only have to look at The Guardian newspaper in the UK to see that journalism is alive and kicking. They relaunched their paper 2 years ago with the ‘Berliner’ format and in doing so have successfully woven in user generated content, particularly from blogs. Other papers are following suit.

    So, I would say the question may need rewording: user generated content doesn’t so much pose a threat, but a massive opportunity, at least for the print and media companies. An opportunity hitherto untapped.

  34. Ashish Mohta says:

    I think its high time when traditional way of Journalism should be changed.

    I agree that Online content might be little in accurate but If a Journalist combines the power of online and realtime data which is more realistic…..it will not be threat any more.

  35. Asako says:

    After reading comments from everyone, I feel I need a definition of what is the traditional journalist. Do we mean news paper companies? Do we mean TV networks? Or do we mean the journalists who claim journalism as their occupation? Also I need a definition of “user” in user-generated contents. Some bloggers do go out and research the facts, on a full-time basis. Are they journalists or users?

    Regarding news paper companies and magazines, I would agree their operational model will not last too long. One good thing about them is that they have syndicated a broad range of articles into one package with decently high quality writing, so that readers do not have to search for information. Of course, we can create our own syndication by RSS, but still it does not match the easiness of just picking up the stuck of papers and skimming through everything going on in the world from politics, art, business, to society. Online as well, I still check news on CNN or NY Times.

    But I do not spend as much time on them as before. And I am sure they would be in the financial trouble, if this trend continues. I wonder why they do not change their operational model to allow their journalists to publish in more free manner. They have gotten great writers who can write very well in their own niches.

    In the end, these companies will go down, but I believe great journalists and writers would just move on to different media and survive. They will figure out how to make money out of writing great articles online.

    TV broadcasters are another thing. I totally agree I never watch TV news anymore. The quality is low and credibility is low. But at the same time, they seem to be finding other ways to attract viewers like reality shows like Dancing with Stars, etc. I do not know if I should call them journalism, probably more of entertainment. As still video image quality is much higher with TVs, and the access to TV broadcasting is still limited, they will last for a while. On the day when someone figures out how to have a real visual entertainment on PC screen utilizing web contents, finally “user-generated” entertainment contents will pull them down, I think.

    Finally, whatever media is used, if the traditional journalist is about field research, fact gathering, and reporting truth with personal touch of opinions, I really hope that will not disappear from this world. As someone pointed out, “user-generated” contents are often as low quality as what mainstream media may present, as both of them are motivated by viewer / readership. Both can mis-represent facts just to make the story interesting. And I noticed even hobbyist bloggers may just follow what mass majority is seemingly advocating, because that would make them to be the part of authority. So I would not be able to trust what I read on blogs as much as I would not be able to trust what I read on newspapers.

    So while the new form of media (blogs, social networking, etc) may take over the old form of media (newspapers, magazine), the challenge of obtaining un-biased true news will probably not change.

  36. sangesh says:

    Let’s not directly say that the New digital media is a threat to the traditional journalism, but that the meaning of journalism has evolved.

    If we say that the traditional journalism is in threat then did email replace the postal service completely?

    Well if the traditional journalism does not satisfy the needs of today’s requirement of ever increasing growth of information needs then it will defiantly be replaced my the new digital journalism.

  37. Disclosure: I am a journalist and a blogger.

    Many of the above responses betray a misunderstanding about what a journalist does. Many of your readers seem to be arguing the case that the internet is a threat to newspapers. This may be the case but it simply doesn’t follow that the digital user-generated content is a threat to journalism. Journalists, even so-called “traditional” ones, are online too.

    In the old days interaction with the readers was on the letters page. Now it’s constant and journalists have had to get used to comments on their stories and the idea that their readers might have more expertise in a certain area than they do. Some personalities might feel threatened by that but it’s not truly a threat, it’s simply a new way of operating.

    Similarly, the idea of “citizen journalists” is not a threat. It’s a misnomer in any case; these people are not journalists, they are witnesses to events. Journalists have always relied on witnesses to help construct the events of a story if they weren’t actually present, now they’re likely to have photographs and video taken from the scene as well. That can only be a good thing for journalism.

    The real threat comes if people switch off to journalism altogether. It’s not a problem if the user-generated content is contained within the news site (lively discussion pages on the news brand’s in-house blogs, for example). Nor is it a problem if they are switching to new competitors who are badged as a blog operate in nearly every respect like a news organisation – that simply widens the employment pool for journalism. However, it IS a threat if people don’t do any of that but instead spend all their time on social networking sites and online forums.Blogging may or may not qualify as journalism, but playing scrabble on Facebook definitely doesn’t.

    It’s a threat simply because if readers abandon journalism, then advertising will too. Advertising funds nearly all (but not all) journalism, but advertising is equally happy to fund scrabble on Facebook if that’s where the ‘eyeballs’ are.

    I really don’t think that will happen though. People might enjoy playing scrabble on Facebook but that’s stealing time from watching TV. People still need to know what’s going on.

    Newspaper circulations are in decline, but newspaper website audiences are in a huge growth trajectory. For all the tales of gloom and doom, readers seem as supportive of journalism as ever.

  38. Ed says:

    In the food scene possibly we are a threat. It used to be the case that restaurant reviewers would wait a month or two to review a new place to give it time to get going. I started noticing traffic coming when I blogged opening nights and now the critics are getting in within a month as with Nobu here in Melbourne and fairly soon Mama Ganoush on Chapel Street. Also now if you Google certain restaurants of food topics you will find blogs on equal ranking to old media sites such as The Age. There’s been a good debate on my blog at:

    http://www.tomatom.com/2007/08/are-old-media-reviewers-competing-with-bloggers

  39. Yes, Yes, Yes. My local television stations now plead for you to email them your videos and story’s involving everything from local sports to breaking news.

    I still read the Sunday paper but everything except the local news has already been reported on the Internet.

  40. I think the medium is too young to take over from the established news media.

    It takes time to establish the trust relationship that what is being broadcast/published is an unbiased, correctly reported piece.

    Ask yourself the question, who would you belive to bring you a rounded story, the BBC or Johnny Blogger sitting at home with his PC?

  41. Garri says:

    Neil, I asked myself your question and my answer is: I wouldn’t ‘believe’ either, particularly the BBC in the current climate.

    And anyway, since when has journalism been about ‘believing’ ?

    I feel Darren is setting out an agenda judging by the way his question is worded, although a definition of what constitutes a ‘traditional journalist’ would be useful.

  42. Ashish Mohta says:

    I would agree with Views of Askoa, Sangesh and Caitlin. Good writers will always find a way but then both online and offline have their own places.

    I would Guess Darren must have got a good idea with these three comments.

  43. Mark Dykeman says:

    Interesting topic! A few weeks ago I wrote a short article which talked about whether or not new, non-traditional press (i.e. bloggers and citizen journalists) should be able to have the same access to politicians that mainstream media journalists have:

    http://www.helium.com/tm/543374/favor-allowing-media-access

    In many cases, bloggers and citizen journalists are the people who produce the digital, user-generated content. There is no question that the speed of the Internet is a major advantage to “break” news more quickly and as a result many old media companies now have an on-line presence.

    One issue that I see, however, is that mainstream media journalists have one major advantage that the new media don’t necessarily have: personal relationships and access to key news sources. Certain entities, like the US Congress, have traditionally resisted uncontrolled or unplanned media access; the same would be true for many Fortune 500 companies. When the digital media can match the speed of delivery with access to the same key news sources, the traditional journalist will have no choice but to copy the “new wave”. And that is already starting to happen.

  44. Andrej says:

    Blogging and other types of user generated news is, by definition, less reliable.

    Not to say that there are great bloggers around, but blogging is usually centered around a niche topic. Instead of watching CNN everyday I would have to read 20 or so blog posts per day. Blog posts of niche blogs usually have a tendency to be quite long and it would take a lot of time to achieve the same effect as that of watching CNN.

    Now you might say that the old media is going to die, and user-generated news will take its place. But the old media wins over the new one in one important aspect. It’s simple, short, logical, and is written/edited by professional writers/editors.

    It is true that bloggers are first to react to a new event, but the old media sums all this up and presents it all in a average-Jose friendly way. And that’s what 90% of our population wants.

    We’re not all tech savvy yet, and most of us will never be. In any case is even a win-win situation for the new media. Instead of having to have journalists all over the place, they could use information gathered by the general public.

    Example?

    The media’s coverage of the events in Burma, now reporters were allowed in yet the people of Burma still managed to get videos posted online.

    Traditional media companies are also experimenting heavily with the online world. Take CNN or BBC as two examples, both have thriving internet portals where people can also discuss articles, both ask for their viewers opinion on their website and both have journalists that also blog a lot.

    Could we be talking of a Traditional Media 2.0 now?

  45. No, I don’t think so. I think blogging makes traditional journalism better, and those who will not change with the times will suffer. I agree with many of the statements here, but the decline of newspaper circulation and traditional news is not necessarily because they are obsolete.

    Because of blogging, there are many more views and perspectives being shared. We are not buying the traditional media’s bias “hook, line and sinker.” News organizations that begin providing a balanced view are thriving! (ie: FoxNews, although I know this is contested by some who would rather not hear the conservative view) Organizations who continue to believe their view is the only valid one are suffering (ie: network news/ The New York Times)

    Ultimately, consumers are realizing that every journalist has bias, and it is refreshing to me that most bloggers will freely admit their bias, even when presenting the other side.

    Josh P said “The problem is that user-generated content can sometimes be incredibly inaccurate compared to traditional journalism as the average user doesn’t have to go through any ‘accountability mechanisms.’”

    It appears that many traditional journalists don’t have accountability mechanisms either, as we’ve seen from the false or misleading stories that have been exposed by bloggers. (ie: mass murder and hundreds of dead bodies found in the New Orleans Superdome, Rather-gate, Jayson Blair, etc.)

  46. Madame Monet says:

    When I want real and authoriative news, I go to real news sources. When I want to know people’s REACTION to it, I go to bloggers!

    Madame Monet

  47. David Thorne says:

    I have a feeling that my words echo what has already been written, but I think the answer is that OF COURSE new media is a threat to journalism. For some, its the lack of any journalistic integrity or rules of grammar and spelling. For others its a way to circumvent what may be seen as out-dated ways of thinking.

    I think for the most part that “new media” will eventually work itself into a new form of journalism, rather than be a direct threat to it. People still want to express their feelings and the new technologies out there allow more people than ever to be able to do that. They may not always spell things correctly or worry too much about the five W’s but the message will still go out.

    And perhaps because they are not following those traditional practices or journalistic guidelines those words will be viewed in a more positive light. In this age where everyone feels the media is being controlled by strong corporations with hidden agendas, the voice of the common man will be the more popular one.

  48. 60 in 3 says:

    I’m not sure there’s much of a distinction between new media and old. We’ve seen so called new media sites become the same as old media. Look at some of the bigger blogs like tech crunch. They’re no different than most news papers these days. They chase ad revenue, have multiple authors, work with editors and produce content tailored to their market.

    I think a better idea would be to compare traditional organizational journalism with one man / woman shops. Those are mostly blogs, but I’ve seen small newspapers and newsletters that are more “new media” than most blogs.

    Gal

  49. Michael says:

    Personally I do not see are no reasons why user-generated content cannot replace traditional journalism. In the blogging world everyone is a journalist.

  50. ashok says:

    There are a number of factors to consider in order to get a grip on the question:

    1. Source quality in New Media – this can be very good, or very bad. There are lots of fanatics who think lots of conspiracy theory put together make an objective journalist who’s “telling it like it is.” New media seems to encourage this sort of person.

    However, that sort of person isn’t the threat of New Media to more established journalistic enterprises – at best, they will act as a watchdog, at worst they can be ignored. The threat comes when more established journalists are scooped by people who are actually on the scene or by people who have established expertise already in a field and are blogging topically.

    2. The financial stability of mainstream enterprises – the mere creation of New Media means fewer eyes to watch the nightly news. Broadcast networks are hurting, newspapers are hurting worse (magazines, Steve Rubel has pointed out, are actually thriving. One wonders if the Internet makes us long for nice glossy pretty pics more – I have argued that digital cameras + Internet = a lot of us are way better at seeing).

    I have noted, in the spirit of Jaron Lanier at Edge, that the “New Media” is engaged in a bit of theft. Google gets a lot more money for aggregating content than the New York Times or WSJ is getting for providing that content. Jeff Jarvis argues that there’s free publicity for any traditional media enterprise in this.

    I think it’s more brutal than that – investors are overvaluing the “new” and not recognizing how essential the “old” is. I can’t do my job as a blogger without established, traditional media. If they go broke, a lot of new media tumbles with them.

    It should also be noted that it is not clear whether the better content providers online are getting a fair opportunity to express themselves, or are being exploited unknowingly by the tech sector driving all of this. There are good questions to be asked about the sustainability of quality New Media.