08 March 2016

Who makes the news?

"What is news in the 21st century?" (The Conversation, US. 7 March 2016) The widespread adoption of new social media tools has changed how people relate to one another, but it has also changed not only the question of who makes the news, but what news is. Journalists, who have long been the "gatekeepers" to what we consider news or newsworthy, are no longer the only news-makers.
The audience, who for several generations have largely been sleeping partners in the news production business, have suddenly become more active. In the past, they only purchased news content. And if they were angry after reading biased or inaccurate stories, drafting a “letter to the editor” was their only possible way of showing concern.
Today they have direct access to the editor via Twitter, they directly comment on stories anonymously and instantly, and as alternative players they produce content and share it online. They have also become a legitimate source of information for conventional journalists.
How and in what ways do these changes matter in our everyday lives? How can the stories, opinions, and experiences of 'citizen journalists' via social media reshape what counts as news? How might these alternate accounts become a force for political change (as Bonilla & Rosa (2015) suggest in their analysis of #Ferguson)?