New media and the public sphere of imagination

In a world that thrives on technology, there are new media platforms emerging everyday. It is obvious that journalism no longer has dominance in our world of mass media, due to the increase of multimedia platforms that have been created within the last decade. This new media allows people to get information from the world around them, not only through information that could once only be held in your hand, but through a range of sources, with most now being online (Berkowitz, 2009).

This technological convergence alters the ways in which we consume media, and this circulation of new media content greatly depends on consumer’s active participation (Jenkins, 2006, pg. 3). This then brings in this notion of user-generated content (UGC), where people are becoming their own journalists, through online blogs, YouTube etc.

Berkowitz (2009) believes that “journalism takes on a new role in the mediascape, it is time for those who study journalism to move beyond the age-old lens of conventional journalism perspectives and consider what journalism means, as defined by the journalists who produce it and the audiences that consume it”. With this point in mind, it is obvious to see that media audiences want more than just the story being told. They want opinions, perspectives and even the chance to voice their own. Old media cannot allow this, however the new media can.

The argument here isn’t whether one is a better form of media than the other. With the online world expanding as rapidly as it is today, we need to move past the fact that journalistic ways are slowly declining, with proof that news organisations are cutting back on staff and operations (Berkowitz, 2009). We need to embrace this new media and the ways in which we are able to consume our media in today’s society.

References

Berkowitz, D, 2009, ‘Journalism in the broader cultural Mediascape’, Journalism, SAGE Publication, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 290–292

Jenkins, H 2006, Introduction, ‘Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide’, NYC Press, New York, pg. 1-24

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The ‘selfie’

With the number of online social networking sites available to us these days, it’s easy to see how the ‘selfie’ has become one of the biggest and most talked about uploads in recent times. Oxford dictionary even classed it as ‘word of the year’ in 2013, with the definition ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website’ (Oxford Dictionary, 2013). New media has provided users with many different platforms to be able to express themselves on, through online pictures and videos, however it is becoming more of a way for people to validate their existence. For example, a person going to the beach with friends doesn’t exist to the world, unless a photo is taken and uploaded as proof.

Jerry Saltz states ‘selfies have changed aspects of social interaction, body language, self-awareness, privacy, and humor, altering temporality, irony, and public behavior. It’s become a new visual genre—a type of self-portraiture formally distinct from all others in history. Selfies have their own structural autonomy. This is a very big deal for art’ (Saltz, 2014).

Selfies have become a new way of relating to others and now, with so many different ways to reflect upon ourselves, it has started to have significant implications on self-esteem and identity (Wesch, 2009). With that said, I do believe selfies can most definitely be a good thing and something I enjoy looking at when it comes through my newsfeed. For example, Ellen’s selfies that was taken at the Oscars this year with all the stars and actually crashed Twitter with the amount of retweets it was getting. I do think, however, there is a limit to how many selfies a person does upload, even if it is to showcase their #newlipstick or #newswimmers!

References
Oxford Dictionary, 2013, ‘Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013’, OxfordWord Blogs, viewed 23rd March 2014, <http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/press-releases/oxford-dictionaries-word-of-the-year-2013/&gt;

Saltz, J 2014, ‘Art at Arm’s Length: A History of the Selfie’, Vulture, 27 January, viewed 23rd March 2014, <http://www.vulture.com/2014/01/history-of-the-selfie.html&gt;

Wesch, M 2009, ‘YouTube and You: Experiences of Self- Awareness in the Context Collapse of the Recording Webcam’, EME, vol. 8, no. 2, pp.19-34

Is Wikileaks a media organisation?

Wikileaks-001

Wikileaks was founded in 2006 by the former Australian hacker, Julian Assange. The website was originally created as a wiki, however, was later used as a way of releasing these leaked documents to journalists, and then releasing the documents themselves in conjunction with the journalists own reports (Coddington, 2012). There exists to be no formal headquarters of the organisation, therefore making it the worlds first ‘stateless news organisation’ (Rosen, 2010)

Rosen (2010) states “In media history up to now, the press is free to report on what the powerful wish to keep secret because the laws of a given nation protect it. But Wikileaks is able to report on what the powerful wish to keep secret because the logic of the Internet permits it. This is new.” The Internet provides freedom of speech for the public; however, this does avoid the social and organisational frameworks of traditional media, which has played a major role in positioning the balance between freedom and responsibility of the press. (Benkler, 2011)

In 2010, Wikileaks gave advance copies of 92000 reports included in the Afghanistan war logs to three major international newspapers. This created a major dilemma for the newspapers, because a) they couldn’t verify any sources of the information, and b) they couldn’t stop Wikileaks from posting the information, regardless of whether they choose to write on it or not. Therefore, when the newspapers did publish their own versions, the full-version was always going to be released online, which would have displayed any unspoken truths the editors from the newspapers may have left out (Rosen, 2010).

From this information, it is hard to determine whether Wikileaks should be classed as a media organisation or not. Coddington (2012) argues that Wikileaks are presenting a traditional sense of what journalism is and should be today, whether or not they should publish it, is another story. Rosen (2010) also states that “appealing to national traditions of fair play in the conduct of news reporting misunderstands what Wikileaks is about: the release of information without regard for national interest. Just as the Internet has no terrestrial address or central office, neither does Wikileaks”.

References
Benkler, Y 2011, ‘A Free Irresponsible Press: Wikileaks and the Battle Over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate’, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, vol.46, pp. 311-397

Coddington, M 2012, ‘Defending a Paradigm by Patrolling a Boundary: Two Global Newspapers Approach to WikiLeaks’, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, vol.89, no.3, pp.377-9

Rosen, J 2010, ‘The Afghanistan War Logs Released by Wikileaks, the World’s First Stateless News Organization’, Press Think, 26 July, viewed 15th March 2014, <http://archive.pressthink.org/2010/07/26/wikileaks_afghan.html&gt;