new media and the future of news

In yesterday’s weekly seminar at the Annenberg Center for Communication, Prof. Jay T. Harris, Chair in Journalism and Democracy at USC, raised several points of interest on the current crises of journalism and the future of news. He illustrated how the digitization of news, the new devices and the new patterns of information acquisition have led to the collapse of the 20th century model of journalism. Harris argues that the change cannot simply be seen as technology driven, but as the result of the choices that humans and news corporations make. The most profound impact of the use of new media in journalism is on public discourse and as such it raises a series of interesting research questions: have the new forms of journalism (in the form of online news, blogging, discussion forums and citizens’ journalism) produced an increase in the number and diversity of voices being heard? How will new forms of journalism, such as blogging, evolve – are they here to stay or will they wither away? How effective (and how reliable) are they? Do they fulfill the same functions in society as old media? Are they capable of serving the public interest, for example by giving voice to the powerless and by acting as government watchdog? And I add: can they bring about political change? This was a very timely and refreshing talk which provided a critical analysis of current developments amidst the enthusiasm for new media and the rise of a participatory culture.

About Corinna

Corinna di Gennaro (BSc LSE; MPhil, DPhil, Oxon) is a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, at Harvard Law School.
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