The Internet has made it possible for individuals to access “real time” events and news.
There are however several pros and cons to the role that the Internet plays in the creation and dissemination of “news”.
The advantages being, that of instantaneous news updates from a variety of sources. Different interpretations (free rational democracy ) of an event allow for the emergence of truth. (Libertarian Theory of Press).
This is a privilege not enjoyed by any other media that reports news. The Internet, being a global platform, does not as yet, have a universal “code of conduct”. This makes it possible to attain a degree of freedom that cannot be curbed by political, financial or ethical norms neither by social structures.
However, the factor that gives the Internet most advantage also acts as a hindrance. The freedom to publish without bindings allows for the existence of information that may not be credible.
What use is news if it has no concrete evidence to back it up?!
At this point I thought to look at the definition of news.
Here is what Charles Anderson Dana, an American journalist (1819- 1897) had to say about “news”
“When a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news.”
Most definitions of news agree that it is new, noteworthy information about an important event.
The questions arises again as to what is “noteworthy” and what is “important”?
The world by and large considers political and economic happenings to be important because they affect the structure and functioning of nations.
However, which celebrity slept with whom also makes its way into newspapers.
So seriously…. What is news??
Coming back to credibility, the convergence of portable recording technology (read: mobile devices) and portable communication technology (read: internet and cloud) makes it possible, cheap and instantaneous to stage, create, gather, compile and share “news”.
My research paper, delves into the notion that the “Use of Social Media allows for a better informed population”.
The paper looks at
- News creation and gathering.
- Dissemination of news.
- Credibility and ethics.
After compiling my paper, I found that the idea of “better informed population” and “democracy” might just be an illusion. There exist several invisible forces which control the type of news content that is published even on the internet. Truth can still be hidden for the fulfillment of ulterior motives.
How often have the comments on an article influenced your opinion about the article itself or its topic; even if the comments were made from anonymous people?