Digital Journalism is a term used to describe a trend in journalism originating from the internet.
Technological affordances, which previously allowed the mass distribution of news and information to large, increasingly homogeneous audiences, are now giving that same power to individuals. This trend is called digital journalism, with low barriers to entry provided by the Internet and computer networking technologies, as well as new writing genres, such as blogs, creating a new media landscape for 21st century digital journalists. Freed from large investments in distribution and production equipment (known as the long-tail in marketing terms), individuals and grass-roots organization are pioneering a host of new journalistic styles and practices, such as digital journalism, and also generating new communicative forms, such as YouTube and hyper-local geographically based Web sites, as well as refreshing older forms, such as obituaries.
Critics often cite digital journalism's lack of a traditional "editor" in determining the accuracy of published content. The Federal Trade Commission has established guidelines mandating that bloggers "disclose any freebies" they are receiving from third parties. This was done in response to a question in the integrity of product and service reviews in the online community.
A concept of digital journalism is the idea that it is unfiltered. In newspapers and other print media there was a filter on knowledge. Knowledge was based on what the editor and writer of the article wanted you to know. But with digital journalism the reader gets to decide what is newsworthy or not. Everything and anything is out there for the world to see.
Digital journalism allows for connection and discussion that print doesn't offer. People can comment on articles and start discussion boards to discuss articles. Before discussion on the topic with other readers was near impossible to do with print. In fact, this process of discussing the article is a big portion of what digital journalism is. People become a part of the story and connect with other people who want to discuss.
Digital journalism's lack of a traditional "editor" has also given rise to citizen journalism. This allows anyone who feels something important has happened in their community and wants to share it with the world can do so. One does not need a degree to be a citizen journalist. It comes in handy for some companies to use citizen journalists' information if they can not access certain situations--countries where freedom of the press is limited, for example. Ordinary people can record events happening and send it anywhere in the world they wish, or can put it on their Web sites for the world to see. Other media outlets can then pick up the story and run with it as they please, thus allowing them to reach their audiences with information that might not otherwise be received.
Digital journalism also defines the process print companies have taken to catch up to the Web by attempting to incorporate such technology into their Web sites. Many newspapers have been forced to create online sites to remain competitive and have taken advantage of audio, video and text linking to remain at the top of news consumers' lists.
Digital journalism also creates an opportunity for a niche audiences. It allows for people to have an option as to what they are viewing and reading. Whereas, journalism as we know it has a wide range of topics and diversity. It also allows for everyday people to have a way to voice their opinions. Digital journalism opens up new ways of storytelling, primarily through the technical components of the new medium. It can provide a variety of media text, audio, video, and photographs, unlike other media sources.
Unlike traditional journalism, where things were stable and constant digital journalism will not be. Digital journalism will always be constantly changing with the times and technology. There will always be a new, better, faster, easier way to access information. Digital journalism also creates more competition per se, because anyone can be a part of this "world". There aren't any bosses in the field.
Newspapers rarely get to break a news story any more, and most websites beat the cable news channels to the punch. Digital journalism allows for reports to start out vague and general, and progress to a better put together story. Newspapers and TV cable are at a disadvantage because they generally can only put together stories when an ample amount of detail and information are available. Newspapers many times have to wait for the next day, or even two days later if it is late breaking, before being able to address a story! The physical newspaper loses a lot of ground to its online counterpart, ad revenue has shifted to the internet, and subscription to the printed paper has gone way down. People are now able to go and see the news they want, when they want, without having to flip pages, fold the paper, or in most cases pay.
Digital journalism is the evolution of the newspaper industry, and many people see it as the death of journalism. The continuing dependency of the internet has run the newspaper industry into the ground. Newspapers are produced with the help of their ad sales, and free advertisements on websites such as craigslist have caused people to transform how they publicize. The internet has also created a faster way for people to get news out, thus creating the shift from standard newspapers to the internet. News websites are able to update their stories within minutes of the news breaking. Digital journalism can be viewed as an informal form of journalism because of the different styles as mentioned. Students now wishing to become journalists need to be familiarized with digital journalism in order to be able to contribute and develop the journalism skills.
Digital journalism is the revolution of how news is consumed by society. Online sources are able to provide quick, efficient, accurate reportings of breaking news in a matter of seconds, providing society with a synopsis of events as they occur. Throughout the development of the event, journalists are able to feed online sources the information keeping readers up to date in mere seconds. Digital journalism does not mean the death of newspapers, but rather the evolution of how we retain our news. Online sources are media outlets for news happening at the moment, reported objectively, providing factual information, while newspapers can return to the roots of their foundation and provide an in-depth analysis of current events.
A new media environment is upon us, which simply has called for a new model for news production and delivery. An ecological model will now be replacing the legacy model within the media system. The ecological model exists within our digital environment and is supported by the internet and the World Wide Web. This model is decentralized, unfiltered, and egalitarian. The ecological model has a many-to-many distribution, as opposed to the legacy model which was built in an analog, print, and electronic media environment which drastically differs with a one-to-many distribution, as well as it was highly centralized and filtered.
As a reader of these new news outlet much attention must be paid to the fact that a lot of the information called news will not actually be news. With millions of people having access to producing and posting information, close attention must be paid to what is news and what is just entertainment. Readers have to be able to differentiate between the two.
Readers also have to pay attention to the writers of these articles; who are they? Are they credible? Do they have the credentials to speak on this issue or is this their opinion? Unfiltered is good in a sense that no one can determine what news the people should be informed about, but often there a lot of nonsense posted posing as news.
With this new era of journalism, citizen journalists have became widespread over the internet. For citizen journalism to be effective and successful there needs to be a citizen editor. The role of the citizen editor is highly important, their role is to solicit other people to provide accurate information and encourage interactivity among the users.
The point of view of consumers on the news, the readers or viewers, as well as the point of view of the creators of the news, journalists and newscasters have all been impacted by this new media. There is now an increase within choice and variety. This is important to those who want a balanced point of view and gather all sides of a story.
Digital journalism is the natural evolution of journalism. Digital journalism represents the combining of two related worlds: journalism and technology. Technological advancements, specifically the internet, have forever changed the way the world access information. With digital journalism the focus is on news. Journalism only referring to the printed newspaper has become more rare because of the current digital age. The early advances that the digital age offered journalism were: faster research, easier editing, conveniences, and a faster delivery time for articles. The Internet has broadened the effect that digital age has on journalism. Because of the unimaginable popularity of the internet all people have access to add their forms of journalism to the information network. Web pages and blogs are examples of how the internet has expanded who gets to present news and important information. Individuals (who are not professional journalists) who attempt to present news through their blogs or websites are often referred to as citizen journalists. Journalists are also involved in the reconstruction of the news though the internet. Online newspapers and interactive blogs are only a few ways that journalists incorporate the technological age.
Digital technology presents challenges to the field of journalism in several ways. At the same time it also offers a variety of opportunities for positive changes that can benefit communities like never before. The most fundamental problem that journalists must address is to create a business model that will allow journalism to continue to be a paid profession. Perhaps the answer will be something as revolutionary as moving journalism into the non-profit sector. This could benefit the public because the information that is published will no longer be profit driven and shaped by corporate interests. In this case, the digital journalist will be able to get back to the traditional mission of journalism; to inform the public and act as a watchdog over the government. Of course at the same time, journalists and the public will have to be wary of government censorship, which is already becoming an issue for bloggers.
Although solutions for the future of the news industry are complicated, digital journalism allows for greater participation from the readers than with traditional print. The new hybrid model of journalism restructures the flow of information. The public is encouraged to interact with the news differently than in the past. The Internet makes things like forums possible that allow the public to contribute to the discussion. Also, “citizen journalists” are able to publish information that may not be reported otherwise, and the public has a greater opportunity to be informed. At the same time, news consumers must become literate and use critical thinking to evaluate the credibility of sources. Because it is possible for anyone to write articles and post them on the internet, the definition of journalist is changing. This is another challenge to the journalism field in the digital age.
Those who wish to contribute to the digital journalism movement must take care with how they communicate with their audience. They communicate with what is called a “public voice.” A digital journalist has to stay true to what they want to stay while at the same time making sure that their audience understands what you want to say. A journalist must analyze their audience, and focus on effective communication with them.
Digital journalism has essentially forced newspapers around the country to create a new medium for news delivery. Many individuals can attribute this to the effect of the younger generation, which relies heavily on the internet, growing older. This new form of journalism has created a means of allowing up to date information to be available at a moment's notice. This in turn has created a more well-informed society and group of individuals.
There are great advantages with digital journalism and the new blogging evolution that people are becoming accustomed to, but just like everything else it also comes with some disadvantages. For instance, people are used to what they already know and can't always catch up quickly with the new technologies in the 21st century. Most American citizens are used to print media, but now they are forced to own computers to receive their daily news. The goals of print and digital journalism are the same though different tools are needed to function.
As with any new development, there are both advantages and disadvantages to digital journalism. While digital journalism has opened many doors to getting news to everyone, it has also initiated some problems. The age of digital journalism has definitely changed the rate at which people expect to receive news, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's good for those on the consumer end (readers), because news is expected to be covered at an alarming rate. On the other end, this immediacy makes the job of the journalist (writer) more difficult. While news sources want to reveal news as soon as possible, there is only so much accuracy one can obtain in a short amount of time. In the legacy system, there was much more time to fact check and edit for credibility. Within the new media, digital age, we are in a cycle of immediacy.
Because of the rapid development of digital journalism, we now have so many choices of news sources. There are countless news sites on the Internet--not to mention blogs. One of the problems, however, is that with more news sites, credibility becomes an issue. Most people hold blogs in low regard as far as credibility, but often times they report factual news first. There is a give and take with blogs. Readers have to be able to decide if what they're reading is valid or not. But because of the number of blogs and news sites online, it is relatively simple to check with three or four other sources for validity. So again, there are the disadvantages and advantages to new media.
The effects of digital journalism can be felt around the world. This form of journalism has pushed journalists to reform and evolve. Older journalists who are not tech savvy have felt the blunt force of this. In recent months, a number of older journalists have been pushed out and younger journalists brought in because of their ability to work in advanced technology settings.
Critics believe digital journalism has made it easier for individuals who are not qualified journalists to misinform the general public. Many believe that this form of journalism has created a number of sites that do not have credible information. Sites such as PerezHilton.com have been criticized for blurring the lines between journalism and opinionated writing.
Some critics also believe that newspapers should not switch to a solely internet based format, but instead keep a component of print as well as digital. News publication The Ann Arbor News, which ceased print publication in July 2009, is an example of this type of format. The News instead switched to a internet based entity, AnnArbor.com, in order to keep up with the transition from print to web.
Another concern with digital journalism is that the speed in which a story can be posted can affect the accuracy of the reporting in a way that doesn't usually happen in print journalism. Before the emergence of digital journalism the printing process took much more time, allowing for the discovery and correction of any errors found.