How digital journalism has affected traditional journalism

Digital journalism has sparked controversy between progressive and traditional media and journalists. The debate on whether digital journalism is a danger to traditional media is complex and never-ending. Digital journalism reminds us of two main principles of journalism: empowerment and completeness/verification. This new media presents positive and negative consequences for traditional media.

Many people today prefer getting their news online, via apps or social media rather than traditional media. The benefit and risk are that the user can ultimately choose what they want to see, read, hear and are limited to a point of view that they share without broadening their horizons and opinions. Unconsciously we filter and personalize the way we get the news.

 

The positive aspect of digital journalism is that it allows everyone to express themselves. It is a way to reinforce empowerment which is a very important part of journalism. With Internet, social media, blogs, etc., the freedom to express one's opinion is more accessible (to some extent of course) and therefore more people are able to write, record, film, anything that allows them to freely speak their minds. However, this great access also implies risks.

One risk is the spread of "fake news", incorrect facts and information that is dangerous for society and democracy. Spreading these kinds of rumors can have an impact on users who aren't necessarily responsible online and don't verify a source, an information. In that sense, digital journalism by spreading false information, sensationalism and other practices contrary to journalism, can lead to manipulation towards those naive or irresponsible digital users.

 

Although, this danger is also a positive way digital journalism impacts traditional media because it forces them to implicate themselves more in what is the future of journalism by competing with them. In doing so, they attract more readers, therefore ratings go up and people can possibly be interested in traditional ways we receive information. A way the traditional press gets involved in new digital media is by using their weakness (risk of misinformation) and correcting it. We can see today that many journalists have specialized in verifying the news and especially the information spread on social media.

Generally speaking, digital journalism helps reinforce freedom of expression in countries that censor a lot (for example in Egypt many citizen journalists, used Internet and social media in particular to protest against their authoritarian leader). It also serves people who even in representative and democratic systems can't express their voice. When oppressed or minority's stories aren't published in traditional media, they turn to citizen journalism thanks to the digital era in which we live (example black twitter).

 

Digital journalism allows liberty to share one's opinion but at the same time they preset negative consequences for traditional media, especially print media that is going through a difficult period financially especially. I believe that the revolution in media with the digital age is just another obstacle that traditional media need to overcome like with every other revolution (magazine, radio, television, infotainment, etc.). Like every progress there are positive and negative aspects but I think it's the user that needs to be more responsible and smart enough in their choices when getting the news.

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