In week 8 of class we discussed changes that have occurred to journalism and media since the internet has been introduced. The main changes include the speed news and media travels (we look for breaking news, not the front cover of tomorrow’s paper), the reach of the content (anyone can now read the Times-Picayune), and the larger amount of content creators (anyone can start a blog or website and be a pseudo-journalist).
We spent the majority of class planning and staging a mock-debate. My team was tasked with arguing that the internet has had a positive effect on media, while the other team argued the opposite. As the professor pointed out after the poll had closed deeming my side the winner, my team had the benefit as everyone in class should be in favor of the internet’s use in media as seeing as we’re taking this program.
The main argument posed by the “Internet as a Negative” side, is that the internet has the ability to amplify the reach of fake news or inaccurate information. Two specific instances were discussed, including the people wrongly accused of perpetuating the Boston Marathon bombing, and a man whose picture went viral as an initial suspect in the shooting of five Dallas police officers in 2016.
This man is still facing backlash from people, and NBC Dallas Fort-Worth did an eye-opening piece on him as the one-year anniversary of the event approached. He had death threats sent to him in the weeks after, although the shooter was killed that same night.
“Still, to this day, people come up and say, ‘I know you, you’re the shooter.”
News across the internet never really dies, and searching Mark Hughes Dallas on Google may forever link him to that event.
On our side, we noted that although inaccurate information is still quite evident, the speed and amount of resources on the internet allow for everyone to be a fact-checker, and counter fake news. One of my favorite websites in the fall of 2016 was a Donald Trump fact checker that pointed out which statements he made that were false, and linked to an article with the facts.
Going back to the earlier point of reach, by allowing many more people to read and create content, the internet allows for more ideas and viewpoints to be heard. We are not as reliant on the major corporations to feed us the news. We now have better collaboration between departments and news agencies, and of course the internet has brought us the possibility of millennials’ favorite work option, working remotely.
For big stories and events, you can have journalists on the ground collaborating with people in the major metros to give us an idea of what is really going on at the scene. And if you can’t get a reporter in the field, crowdsourcing is always an option, like I did by including the tweet below, similar to many on the ground videos I’ve seen on articles today charting the path of Hurricane Irma.
It’s remarkable footage, but I wish the best for those impacted thus far, and hope everyone stays safe as the storm continues its path!
Cover Image from www.niemanlab.org