Online journalism is news that is reported on the Internet. News can be delivered more quickly through this method of news as well as accessed more easily. The internet era has transformed the understanding of news. Because the internet allows communication which is not only instantaneous, but also bi- or multi-directional, it has blurred the boundaries of who is a legitimate news producer. A common type of internet journalism is called blogging, which is a service of persistently written articles uploaded and written by one or more individuals.
Millions of people in countries such as the United States and South Korea have taken up blogging. Many blogs have rather small audiences; some blogs are read by millions each month.Social media sites, especially Twitter and Facebook, have become an important source of breaking news information and for disseminating links to news websites. Twitter declared in 2012: “It’s like being delivered a newspaper whose headlines you’ll always find interesting – you can discover news as it’s happening, learn more about topics that are important to you, and get the inside scoop in real time.” Cell phone cameras have normalized citizen photojournalism.
Michael Schudson, professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has said that “everything we thought we once knew about journalism needs to be rethought in the Digital Age.” Today the work of journalism can be done from anywhere and done well. It requires no more than a reporter and a laptop. In that way, journalistic authority seems to have become more individual- and less institution-based.
But does the individual reporter always have to be an actual journalist? Or can journalistic work be done from anywhere and by anyone? These are questions that refer to the core of journalistic practice and the definition of “news” itself. As Schudson has given emphasis to, the answer is not easily found; “the ground journalists walk upon is shaking, and the experience for both those who work in the field and those on the outside studying it is dizzying”.
These alterations inevitably have fundamental ramifications for the contemporary ecology of news. “The boundaries of journalism, which just a few years ago seemed relatively clear, and permanent, have become less distinct, and this blurring, while potentially the foundation of progress even as it is the source of risk, has given rise to a new set of journalistic principles and practices”, Schudson puts it. It is indeed complex, but it seems to be the future.
Online news has also changed the geographic reach of individual news stories, diffusing readership from city-by-city markets to a potentially global audience. Because internet does not have the “column inches” limitation of print media, online news stories can, but don’t always, come bundled with supplementary material. The medium of the world wide web also enables hyperlinking, which allows readers to navigate to other pages related to the one they’re reading.
Despite these changes, some studies have concluded that internet news coverage remains fairly homogenous and dominated by news agencies.And journalists working with online media do not identify significantly different criteria for newsworthiness than print journalists.
The early internet, known as ARPANET, was controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense and used mostly by academics. It became available to a wider public with the release of the Netscape browser in 1994. At first, news websites were mostly archives of print publications. An early online newspaper was the Electronic Telegraph, published by The Daily Telegraph. A 1994 earthquake in California was one of the first big stories to be reported online in real time.
In 1995, the release of web browser Netscape made news sites accessible to more people. On the day of the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995, people flocked to newsgroups and chatrooms to discuss the situation and share information. The Oklahoma City Daily posted news to its site within hours. Two of the only news sites capable of hosting images, the San Jose Mercury News and Time magazine, posted photographs of the scene.
Quantitatively, the internet has massively expanded the sheer volume of news items available to one person. The speed of news flow to individuals has also reached a new plateau.This insurmountable flow of news can daunt people and cause information overload. Zbigniew Brzezinski called this period the “technetronic era”, in which “global reality increasingly absorbs the individual, involves him, and even occasionally overwhelms him.”
In cases of government crackdowns or revolutions, the Internet has often become a major communication channel for news propagation; while it’s a (relatively) simple act to shut down a newspaper, radio or television station, mobile devices such as smartphones and netbooks are much harder to detect and confiscate. The propagation of internet-capable mobile devices has also given rise to the citizen journalist, who provide an additional perspective on unfolding events.
News agencies are services which compile news and disseminate it in bulk. Because they disseminate information to a wide variety of clients, who repackage the material as news for public consumption, news agencies tend to use less controversial language in their reports. Despite their importance, news agencies are not well known by the general public. They keep low profiles and their reporters usually do not get bylines.
The oldest news agency still operating is the Agence France-Presse (AFP). It was founded in 1835 by a Parisian translator and advertising agent, Charles-Louis Havas as Agence Havas. By the end of the twentieth century, Reuters far outpaced the other news agencies in profits, and became one of the largest companies in Europe. In 2011, Thomson Reuters employed more than 55,000 people in 100 countries, and posted an annual revenue of $12.9 billion.
United Press International gained prominence as a world news agency in the middle of the twentieth century, but shrank in the 1980s and was sold off at low prices. It is owned by the Unification Church company News World Communications.
News agencies, especially Reuters and the newly important Bloomberg News, convey both news stories for mass audiences and financial information of interest to businesses and investors. Bloomberg LP, a private company founded by Michael Bloomberg in 1981, made rapid advances with computerized stock market reporting updated in real time. Its news service continued to exploit this electronic advantage by combining computer-generated analytics with text reporting. Bloomberg linked with Agence France Presse in the 1990s.
Following the marketization of the Chinese economy and the media boom of the 1990s, Xinhua has adopted some commercial practices including subscription fees, but it remains government-subsidized. It provides newswire, news photos, economic information, and audio and video news. Xinhua has a growing number of subscribers, totaling 16,969 in 2002, including 93% of Chinese newspapers. It operates 123 foreign bureaus and produces 300 news stories each day.
Other agencies with considerable reach include Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Germany), Kyodo News (Japan), the Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (Italy), the Middle East News Agency (Egypt), Tanjug (Serbia), EFE (Spain), and Anadolu Agency (Turkey).
On the internet, news aggregators play a role similar to that of the news agency—and, because of the sources they select, tend to transmit news stories which originate from the main agencies. Of articles displayed by Yahoo! News in the U.S., 91.7% come from news agencies: 39.4% from AP, 30.9% AFP, and 21.3% Reuters. In India, 60.1% of Yahoo! News stories come from Reuters.
Google News relies somewhat less on news agencies, and has shown high volatility, in the sense of focusing heavily on the most recent handful of salient world events. In 2010, Google News redesigned its front page with automatic geotargeting, which generated a selection of local news items for every viewer.
News values are the professional norms of journalism. Commonly, news content should contain the “Five Ws” (who, what, when, where, why, and also how) of an event. There should be no questions remaining. Newspapers normally place hard news stories on the first pages, so the most important information is at the beginning. Busy readers can read as little or as much as they desire. Local stations and networks with a set format must take news stories and break them down into the most important aspects due to time constraints.
Journalists are often expected to aim for objectivity; reporters claim to try to cover all sides of an issue without bias, as compared to commentators or analysts, who provide opinion or personal point of view. The result is a laying out of facts in a sterile, noncommittal manner, and standing back to “let the reader decide” which view is true.Several governments impose certain constraints against bias.
In the United Kingdom, the government agency of Ofcom (Office of Communications) enforces a legal requirement of “impartiality” on news broadcasters. Both newspapers and broadcast news programs in the United States are generally expected to remain neutral and avoid bias except for clearly indicated editorial articles or segments. Many single-party governments have operated state-run news organizations, which may present the government’s views.
Mid-twentieth-century news reporting in the United States focused on political and local issues with important socio-economic impacts, such as the landing of a living person on the moon or the cold war. The focus similarly remains on political and local issues; the news mass media now comes under criticism for over-emphasis on “non-news” and “gossip” such as celebrities’ personal social issues, local issues of little merit, as well as biased sensationalism of political topics such as terrorism and the economy.
The dominance of celebrity and social news, the blurring of the boundary between news and reality shows and other popular culture, and the advent of citizen journalism may suggest that the nature of ‘news’ and news values are evolving and that traditional models of the news process are now only partially relevant. Newsworthiness does not only depend on the topic, but also the presentation of the topic and the selection of information from that topic.
Although newswriters have always laid claim to truth and objectivity, the modern values of professional journalism were established beginning in the late 1800s and especially after World War I, when groups like the American Society of Newspaper Editors codified rules for unbiased news reporting.
These norms held the most sway in American and British journalism, and were scorned by some other countries. These ideas have become part of the practice of journalism across the world. Soviet commentators said stories in the Western press were trivial distractions from reality, and emphasized a socialist realism model focusing on developments in everyday life.
Even in those situations where objectivity is expected, it is difficult to achieve, and individual journalists may fall foul of their own personal bias, or succumb to commercial or political pressure. Similarly, the objectivity of news organizations owned by conglomerated corporations fairly may be questioned, in light of the natural incentive for such groups to report news in a manner intended to advance the conglomerate’s financial interests.
Individuals and organizations who are the subject of news reports may use news management techniques to try to make a favourable impression.Because each individual has a particular point of view, it is recognized that there can be no absolute objectivity in news reporting. Journalists can collectively shift their opinion over what is a controversy up for debate and what is an established fact, as evidenced by homogenization during the 2000s of news coverage of climate change.
Some commentators on news values have argued that journalists’ training in news values itself represents a systemic bias of the news. The norm of objectivity leads journalists to gravitate towards certain types of acts and exclude others. A journalist can be sure of objectivity in reporting that an official or public figure has made a certain statement.
This is one reason why so much news reporting is devoted to official statements. This lemma dates back to the early history of public news reporting, as exemplified by an English printer who on 12 March 1624 published news from Brussels in the form of letters, with the prefacing comment: “Now because you shall not say, that either out of my owne conceit I misliked a phrase, or presumptuously tooke upon me to reforme any thing amisse, I will truly set you downe their owne words.”
Feminist critiques argue that discourse defined as objective by news organizations reflects a male-centered perspective. In their selection of sources, journalists rely heavily on men as sources of authoritative- and objective-seeming statements.News reporting has also tended to discuss women differently, usually in terms of appearance and relationship to men.
The critique of traditional norms of objectivity comes from within news organizations as well. Said Peter Horrocks, head of television news at BBC: “The days of middle-of-the-road, balancing Left and Right, impartiality are dead. we need to consider adopting what I like to think of as a much wider ‘radical impartiality’ – the need to hear the widest range of views – all sides of the story.”
News making is the act of making the news or doing something that is considered to be newsworthy. When discussing the act of news making, scholars refer to specific models. Five of these models are the Professional Model, Mirror Model, Organizational Model, Political Model, and Civic Journalism Model.
The Professional Model is when skilled peoples put certain events together for a specific audience. The reaction of the audience is influential because it can determine the impact that the particular article or newspaper has on the readers. The Mirror Model states that news should reflect reality. This model aims to focus on particular events and provide accuracy in reporting.
The Organizational Model is also known as the Bargaining Model. It focuses on influencing various news organizations by applying pressures to governmental processes. The Political Model outlines that news represents the ideological biases of the people as well as the various pressures of the political environment.
This model mainly influences journalists and attempts to promote public opinion. The Civic Journalism Model is when the press discovers the concerns of the people and uses that to write stories. This allows the audience to play an active role in society.
Models of news making help define what the news is and how it influences readers. But it does not necessarily account for the content of print news and online media. Stories are selected if they have a strong impact, incorporate violence and scandal, are familiar and local, and if they are timely.
News Stories with a strong impact can be easily understood by a reader. Violence and scandal create an entertaining and attention-grabbing story. Familiarity makes a story more relatable because the reader knows who is being talked about. Proximity can influence a reader more. A story that is timely will receive more coverage because it is a current event. The process of selecting stories coupled with the models of news making are how the media is effective and impactful in society.