To what extent is the power of news being transformed by the digital revolution?

News is newly received information normally about current affairs. It is the job of journalists to take the news and turn it into something more compact for the world to understand and this can be done in many different formats. Originally news would be received and then printed or spoken on the radio but the digital revolution has changed the way news works today in our world. The digital revolution goes back to the 1950’s onwards but took a drastic step when computers were entering the world and we were changing from analogue to digital forms of technology. Privacy played a large part in the digital revolution with the ability to store such large amount of data with the ability to also send it to anywhere in the world for anyone to see, this power had to be limited with laws and privacy rights. The revolution progressed the world in hundreds of ways but the power of news was transformed because of it. News was now not processed or absorbed in the same way anymore. There are now several ways for the news process to occur because of the digital revolution.

News is important to the world because without regular access to news, most people would be unaware of the events taking place around the world. While not everything that happens has an impact on all people equally, news organisations don’t keep their content to a specific people. Therefore, many of the stories that are shown on news programs are varied. The same applies to local newspapers, which divide its pages into a variety of different sections

including local, national and world news. A single journalist may not seem to have the same power as an entire news corporation but ‘Media power is generally symbolic and persuasive, in the sense that the media primarily have the potential to control to some extent the minds of readers or viewers, but not directly their actions.’ the power that news generates is different from conventional power but the digital revolution I believe has changed that because new corporations can own a number of different companies not just a newspaper or the television news channel and because of the this the power can corrupt and become twisted which means news has become increasingly biased. Something that every good journalist will disagree. Because the power of the single journalist has been twisted by the much larger news corporations.

Originally it was believed that peoples news trends came from their political standing and this was most likely the way before the digital revolution because the news wasn’t instant people could wait a few days before breaking news got to them. But what the digital revolution changed primarily was this speed and now that is what determines peoples interest if a story is breaking and is fast or is even happening at the very instant they hear about it that will determine the path they take on learning more and following the story. It all links to news newsworthiness, a process people take where they find out the who, what, where, when, why and how. If their interest remains because it could be a local problem or something on huge scale that affects their country of residence that might interest them more than story on the other side of the planet. They will then shift through the vital details and finally the background details to determine how far they are interested in the story. The digital revolution has played a big hand in the change again thought with the rise of smart phones and social networking. People can receive the news of a shooting on the other side of the world minutes or even seconds after the event has occurred 30% of news that people receive nowadays is derived from the social network Twitter. While the digital revolution has made changes like this old-fashioned way of receiving the news are still present with 70% of new being driven by friends and family.

In the United Kingdom, the typical journalist would be a white British male from the south east of England. A journalist is the person that produces the news for the audience. It all starts with a source which can be a single person or an organisation that provides a journalist with information which means the source determines that story. ‘Whenever you find hundreds and thousands of sane people trying to get out of a place and a little bunch of madmen trying to get in, you know the latter are reporters.’ The biggest job a journalist has is to replace rumour and speculation with hard solid facts and writing. The digital revolution has made a significant difference to journalism though not with the technological changes as much but the emotional and mental side of things with journalists becoming lazy and not willing to hunt a story but stories coming to them. This links with the rise of public relations as a sector where they will write press releases and send them to journalists. With 60-80% of stories tracing back to press releases. Which means journalists are making minimal effort to find or write a fresh story and this has caused the world of news to become very complacent with itself.

The digital revolution has had a drastic change in how the media is controlled. Before the revolution, it was all about the news and the audience. But what time has done is bring media corporations into the fold that own entire businesses devoted to the news but these corporations are not worried about the news itself it is the profit that drives them. In America alone in 1983 90% of the media was controlled by fifty companies while from 2011 that number is just down to six. Six large companies that control nearly the entire media in one of the biggest countries in the world. But the corporations spread across the entire world, with News Corporation owning the top three newspapers in around the world in three different continents the Wall Street Journal, The Sun and The Australian. But the owners of the corporations are the ones that can influence how we as people intake the news. This introduces editors they are influenced by the owners of the corporations while they themselves influence the journalists that work there. ‘Editors are the human sieve of the torrent of news’. They can be pushed not to focus on a specific story that might influence profits so the story might be ruined because of the said pressure from the owner and editor.

The digital revolution has changed what traditional news is as whole. To such an extent that it is nearly unrecognisable in today’s world. The drastic changes of the audience and the power they have while. On the flip side the corporations are lesser in number but much larger in stature and control the power of news as whole. The comparisons that are similar only exist in a minimum number through certain journalists and small time media companies that still do things in certain that keeps them away from the public eye which has caused them to fail in the present and has caused them to not be as prominent. This is all down to the money that advertising costs something which corporations can control and afford while smaller news companies and newspapers/magazines cannot and therefore the spotlight stays away from them.

 

The biggest contrast the digital revolution has caused from the traditional news is the power of the audience. They can determine what news and filter it with ease. Any member of the public that has a smart phone or video camera can break a current story to the world with one click of a button or one tweet that the entire world can see through Twitter. This is a positive change the revolution has caused but it needs to be controlled to certain extent otherwise the news could take a backward step. Keeping it a good thing is essential for news to continue and for journalists to still be prominent there needs to be cohesion between the public and news still for it to work. With the power to be a journalist at any given moment the audience needs to be guided by journalists and the news to do it in the correct way. The digital revolution has brought a lot of change and will continue to do so but this is one of the positive changes it has brought.

The power of news has the potential still in the future to become more powerful but there are so many problems that the digital revolutions has caused that hold it back. It potential lies in the audience of news and that is everyone we as people should take it forward in our own ways. What the news can do is incredible it has the power to bring people together and to rip them away. But the biggest problem is all this power is being controlled by media corporations and when the thing about news that is important is money and profit. This can take away what’s important about the news. So, we can’t just as people rip apart these corporations but we must limit the power they have over us and take control of our own news intake not allow editors and owners to control what we know and what we don’t know. It is a job that not only the public must undertake but a huge one for current and future journalists that we must not become lazy and rely on press releases that have made the job so easy but to take our future in our own hands find that breaking story not waiting for it to come along to us.

Finally, it is clear what the digital revolution has done to news as a whole but there are so many opportunities that now lie ahead because it. The control of the power of news needs to change it can’t lie in the news corporation’s hands forever otherwise it will taint the news because of the sole desire of profit which is not healthy for the news. There must always be independent magazines and radio stations they can never become extinct otherwise the corporations will have complete power over the news and that is one outcome that can never see the light of day. The power of news is so vital to the world. Without news, the world would fall into disarray as a race we have always valued ourselves on exploring and finding that piece of information it is what has driven us forward. The challenges the digital revolution has caused are ever present but with the solutions at hand they can be resolved.

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