Traditional news media has experienced major changes from physical newspaper to multiplatform since the wide use of the Internet in the mid-1990s.
In the days before the world wide web, journalists need to witness a story, write up a news story, go to the business centre, print it out or report through television and radio. News editors and the governments play an major role as the gatekeepers to information. The audiences get whatever news and information newspaper and tv report.
Since the Web1.0 era, the way of how people consume information and news started to change – BBS became popular. The forum was a new interactive platform for the public to communicate with strangers online. West Temple and Tencent are two example for popular BBS at that time.
After the reveoluntionary change in technology and Internet, information gatekeepers become less and less essential because costs of distribution is disappearing and the public are no longer only audiences, they become news editors and spreader.
With the emergence of Facebook in early 2000, the social network officially entered the Web2.0 era. People started to use blog, instant messages apps, social media platform and other multimedia means as a way for daily communication and information resources.
As people can now freely access to news and information through multiple platforms, traditional journalism is somehow ‘abandoned’. In the words of The Guardian, “feeds from social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter provide a snapshot of events happening around the world from the viewpoint of first-hand witnesses, and blogs and citizen news sources offer analytical perspectives from the ground faster than print or television can provide.”
“As with all major change processes, a game of opposites develops between control and freedom, order and chaos. The potential controllers aren’t only in government and parliaments throughout the world. Large companies also want to exercise control over the market,” said by the Sverige Adio.
While I think that the biggest power of control is in the hand of neither the government or large companies, it is in the hand of the public and technology. The revolution of technology change the way of how people access information and news, and it forces the news media to adapt themselves to attract audiences. The rise of independent blogger, the wide use of social media and the trend of online news spreading are challenges for news media. Instead of trying to control the audiences and the ‘news industry’, news media should focus on how to adjust themselves to fit the needs of the general public in this digital age.