What is New Media Journalism?

Ron Marr
Ron Marr
Television journalism is part of what can be considered traditional media.
Television journalism is part of what can be considered traditional media.

In the beginning, media journalism was the province of a town crier. Later came newspapers, followed by television and radio. These latter three communication venues — town criers fell by the wayside around the time Gutenberg invented the printing press — held a virtual monopoly on media journalism until the creation of the Internet. The resulting chat rooms, blogs, news sites, personal websites, podcasts, and video opportunities offered both news and opinion from individuals and experts alike. The result has come to be known as new media journalism.

Newspapers are an older form of media journalism.
Newspapers are an older form of media journalism.

The meteoric rise of new media journalism might have been driven primarily by advancements in technology, but a general dissatisfaction with existing forms of journalism also played a role. Sometimes traditional media journalists lived up to their own standards of neutral and unbiased reporting, and sometimes they didn’t. In the last quarter of the 20th century — likely in an effort to increase profits — the lines between traditional media journalism, advertising, entertainment, and agenda-driven reporting became rather blurry. New media journalism — reporting and opinion provided by what are often called “citizen journalists” — exploded in terms of type, number, and popularity.

Radio is one aspect of traditional journalism.
Radio is one aspect of traditional journalism.

A number of websites specializing in new media journalism grew so large and popular as to become viable competitors to the traditional media. Websites of new media journalists tend to be agenda-oriented. For instance, major players in the field such as The Drudge Report are geared toward an audience with conservative leanings, while sites such as The Huffington Post strive to reach a more liberal audience. The difference between these new media journalists and traditional media journalists is that the former do not normally put up a pretense of being unbiased. The reader knows what they are getting before the fact, and thus can peruse a variety of different offerings and make their own distinctions between fact and opinion.

Online and other new media serve to complement traditional print and broadcast new outlets.
Online and other new media serve to complement traditional print and broadcast new outlets.

The owners of traditional media groups, as well as the reporters and broadcasters who worked for such organizations, originally tended to dismiss bloggers and other new media journalists as unprofessional. That scenario changed when many traditional journalists — dissatisfied with the tight restrictions on coverage and content under which they had previously worked — moved into the world of new media journalism. Though it took a few years for the mainstream press to bow to the inevitable, many traditional outlets now utilize the myriad possibilities of new media journalism to spread their message to the public.

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Discussion Comments

animegal

When you have captured something on film that you think is newsworthy, where do you think are the best places to post it?

Do you think we should go straight to mainstream outlets, or just upload it to someplace like YouTube?

popcorn

It has really been fantastic to see how more and more mainstream news outlets are allowing raw footage from these citizen/new media journalists to air during prime time.

During the huge Japanese quake in March '11 the news outlets relied heavily on footage released from people in the disaster area.

Traditional reporters can't be everywhere, but we can. Many of us are carrying cell phones enabled with video cameras that are produce high quality images, and other nifty technological trinkets that can capture every moment.

I think it is everyone's responsibility to post what you see happening. If the stories you want to get told aren't being shown, show it yourself.

letshearit

New media journalists have been great at getting news that traditional news outlets have been unable to access because their reporters are often people based in the situation at hand.

With the case of the Egyptian protests, some of the best footage came from the locals, offering the world an unfiltered look at what was happening on the ground.

Undeterred by news blackouts and government control of information this new breed of journalist is using the Internet and technology to let a story tell itself through uncut footage and raw recounts of what is really happening during protests, war and natural disasters.

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    • Television journalism is part of what can be considered traditional media.
      Television journalism is part of what can be considered traditional media.
    • Newspapers are an older form of media journalism.
      Newspapers are an older form of media journalism.
    • Radio is one aspect of traditional journalism.
      Radio is one aspect of traditional journalism.
    • Online and other new media serve to complement traditional print and broadcast new outlets.
      Online and other new media serve to complement traditional print and broadcast new outlets.