Gatekeeping vs Gatewatching

Before the diffusion of social media including the internet, so-called “gatekeepers” have filtered everything released in the media. Therefore, gatekeeping is used in traditional journalism. Journalists are required to get approval of their contents by their editors. Then, editors act as a gatekeeper who can decide what is the truth and newsworthy.

However, now as gatewatchers have emerged, there are no longer contents which are filtered. What we call “citizen journalists” are actually gatewatching, observing a social media platform and controlling all the news. As a result, there has to be the inevitable fact that people tend to believe aggregated information on social media from many different individuals, in spite of whether or not the information is true.

This can implicate that we do not necessarily rely on just one particular journalist to get information from. Thus, I really like the idea of what journalism scholar Herbert Gans mentioned “multiperspectival news reporting” (Bruns, A, 2009, ‘News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism’). Although these news reporting might contain bias as they are created by amateur citizen journalists, what we as a world citizen really want is an up-dating news report every single minutes, which mainstream journalism cannot reach. Just like in Twitter-like Sina Weibo in China, Chinese people are against the government, demanding the improved quality of life (http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/asia/chinese-citizen-journalism-succeeds).

On the other hand, I am a little bit wondering how the conventional journalists who have been getting paid by their publications could make their living in the near future when more and more citizen journalists will release more free news reporting.

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Respecting a traditional tool

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“With the diffusion of electronic books and portable information devices in the world, a traditional printed book would disappear within 5 years.” This is the theory of the American scientist, Nicholas Negropunte insisting in the CNN program. He established the peace project where they provide each child with one laptop in developing countries.

Certainly, it is overwhelming that e-book is easy to manage and carry as well as convenient with multimedia characteristics. In addition, everyone in the world could probably be an author of e-book and publish it without professional writing skills. At the same time, everyone in the world can peruse it, even without payment. This is so-called “mass amateurization.” According to the reading in this week, Clay Shirky also emphasizes that “in a world where publishing is that efficient, it is no longer an activity worth paying for.”

However, my argument starts from here. I think that a printed paper book is a persistent medium which will stay forever in the future even though people like Nicholas exaggerate print medium would disappear soon. Why do I think so? This is because in comparison with digital devices which are shapeless, there is a strong feeling for book lovers that they want to own the book they love. Purchasing an e-book just means that purchasing the right to access to a particular data, resulting in them feeling different sense of possession. Moreover, a certain survey (http://dailybruin.com/2012/01/11/_benefits_of_paper_still_outweigh_ebooks_/) shows that “74 % of the students still prefer printed books over their digital counterparts, and only 13% of the students prefer to buy e-books.”

Although the same things may possibly be written in both a paper book and electronic book, each of them has various advantages and disadvantages. It can be easily expected that further improvement of technology leads to decreased demand of a printed book. However, we should become the reader who can efficiently utilize positive points from both of them.

 

Reference

Shirky, C. (2002). Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing

Thinking of others or enjoying yourself?

“Tokyo has been chosen by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2020 Summer Games for the first time in 54 years.” In the early morning today, I heard of this big news from my friend’s post on Facebook, not from television, newspaper or radio. And also I used my smart phone to check it outside home. As soon as seeing the news, I continued to post the information on my Facebook, spread it to all my friends and got many comments or likes as if I have known the news.

 

But, what is the meaning of such things we unintentionally do every day? How can it actually have an effect on other media? In our modern society, smart devices such as smart phone presto become widespread, resulting in a drastic increase in the number of social media users such as Facebook or Twitter. In the information transmitted from social media, each individual’s opinions, ideas and interests can be latent. Further, due to the information transmitted within people’s connection or communication, some big trends, rumors or unfavorable criticisms might potentially be formed.

 

As a result, people could produce a new and more creative website or platform which allows them to exchange information on their own. This could happen, completely because social media has no cost to users. However, there is an ironic story that social media might passively delete the existing organisations and individuals. For example, the news that my friend posted on her Facebook. The meaning that I was able to know the information by one click of the application of Facebook should imply that I do not have to take the trouble either to browse a newspaper or to turn television on. In other words, they consequently might reduce the jobs at newspaper publishing companies and television stations.

 

Although it is certainly a good thing that each individual can have freedom of speech and information transmission, how many of organizations and individuals can be hurt by such media convergence?

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