Sunday, March 2, 2008

Web News

Check out this article: More Americans turning to Web for news

Not so surprisingly, what immediately came to mind after reading this headline was Marshall McLuhan’s theories of media as the message, along with the concept of remediation. We have evidently transformed our habits of acquiring news from primary sources like newspapers to television and now the internet. McLuhan emphasizes the characteristics of the medium as the way in which it affects the society. And it is through theses characteristics that that engage the viewer in different ways. Now apply this to the tools used to access web news: computers, laptops, cell phones, PDAs, and more. People are simply more absorbed into an atmosphere where they are able to interact with their medium. Their source of news can now be customized to their liking, including whether they prefer real news or satirical fake news. From drag and drop, copy paste, forward or share, the user is now in control of their news at the tip of his/her fingers and where it goes. However:

“While most people think journalism is important to the quality of life, 64 percent are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism in their communities, a We Media/Zogby Interactive online poll showed.”

This statement caught my attention as it linked to what we have discussed in class about the quality of information that floats around the web. I was interested to see that there is a significant amount of people who have also noticed their quality of journalism have decreased. What itches me further is the question of change. Is this group of dissatisfied readers and viewers able to ignite social change for higher standards of journalism?

1 comment:

Dave said...

Nice find.

To answer your question, I'd say that social change was ignited long ago - but it's probably an ever-evolving process.

I think when it says that 64% of the people surveyed are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism in their communities, that's referring to communities in a very physical sense. That is to say, local TV news stations and the like. I know I've been pretty unimpressed with some of the content I've seen on my own local news station in the past few years. Imagine a debate that poses the riveting question: Should teenage girls be allowed to wear low-cut jeans in school??


The revolution is with RSS news feeds, sites like Digg as we've discussed in class, and innovative startup projects like Skribitbr/>> which allows readers to make suggestions for topics that matter to them.

For me the most interesting part of the article is the very last sentence. This niche for local TV stations seems obvious, but I'd never thought about it as being essential to their survival. Maybe the answer for them is to work that angle even more, to carve out a really solid place for themselves in our increasingly news-saturated culture.