The development of digital audiences & Challenges brings to news media

In the broadcast era, audiences receive and access information from traditional news media such as newspaper and television. Because of the technological limitations, there was limited interaction between journalism and audiences. Traditional audiences were merely passive receptors of content while journalists can decide and control the media coverage.

Digital media, however, has changed such kind of relationship and encourage “participatory culture”. With various news and media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, WeChat and WeiBo, audiences are able to discuss and comment on particular news or content post by news media. Additionally, audiences can now share their experiences and ideas and generate content. Some even become famous critics and bloggers. Audiences can also affect politics and policy establish. One famous example is the new United States President Donald Trump, who broke the conventional rule and won the election with the power of digital media.

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Relationship between audiences and  journalism has completely shift from “we write and you read” to “journalism democracy and reconnection” (Deuze 2003, p.203). The change of audiences’ needs come along with the change of their abilities. Audiences are not satisfied with the traditional information distribution such as daily newspaper. Instead, they now expect faster news delivery and richer content. Besides, with various information sources to choose from, audiences have great power to choose and consume their preferred content.

infographic-journalists-and-social-media-study-results.pngThis situation brings great challenges to news media as they now need to listen to their audiences and analyse their preferences to decide what to delivery to the public. And as traditional news delivery is shrinking, funding from traditional advertisement is shrinking as well. To compete with peer for audiences’ attention and advertisement opportunities, news media is now undergoing unprecedented pressure. News media and digital journalists are trying hard to brings interesting and timely news to audiences and ready to respond or reply to unpreditable comments or emergency event.

Overall, in the age of digital media, audiences have much more power and ability than before, reshaping the relationship between them and news media. While this new form of relationship and situation brings great challenges to news media.


Deuze, M 2003, ‘‘The Web and Its Journalisms: considering the consequences of different types of news media online’’, New Media & Society, vol. 5, no. 2, pp.203-30.



Social media, the new news delivery platforms

Digital platforms have changed the way in which many of us access, consume, discuss, share and produce news stories. And mass media also rapidly adapted themselves to the innovative way for content delivery.
In most modern countries worldwide, many audience no longer access news on physical news media such as newspaper and magazine. Many news media have their own website where people access news in their daily lives. Such as Newsvine, a news commentary platform hosted by the NBC in the US, and people often join or raise debates on heated topic there. Example in Australia are Sydney Morning Herald and Financial Times, where audience can get news push-delivery from their websites and Apps.
On social media such as Facebook, Twitter and WeChat, many news media also have their own account, where they push news even quicker and more frequent than website or bbs. People can access instant news or event happening around the world through social media platform, and they can easily share the information to friends by forwarding, reposting the news or posting comment on their own account. People can even create news as parties or witnesses.


This new form of participatory journalism have established a new type of relationship between media industries and audiences, in which the interaction is more direct and active. Media can now figure out audiences’ preference easily by analysing the “likes” and comments on the news they post online.
In order to attract audiences and compete with others, some journalists and mainstream media post news with hot title with no value or even “made up” news to catch the audiences’ eyes. According to Sydney Morning Herald’s research, there are only 20% of journalists will check news before publishing on social media. The reason is that some editors rush to be the first to report a “news”, which result in their easily making a misinterpretation out of context without a in-depth investigation. In China, a mainstream media called WangYi News is criticized and blamed by audiences for posting news that do not exist or only partially true.

More and more people access news online especially from social media, while large amount of them cannot efficiently distinguish misinformation. Therefore, government’ rules and regulations to improve the reliability of news online and on social media are necessary.

News media should also take their responsibilities to help creating an environment where audiences can access valuable and reliable information and news. And audiences,  as ther driving force of the spread of news and information, should also learn to spot and distingusih fake news.



Journalism in the Digital Age

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, jounalists need to witness a story, write up a news, go to the business centre, print it out or report through television and radio. News editors and the governments play an important 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, 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.



How can traditional journalism survive with shrinking revenue from advertisement?

The advertising revenue of traditional journalism has significantly shrunk since the rise of digital media. The wide use of Internet and growing popularity of social media and digital journalism changed the pattern of how people access news and information. In the past, people need to pay for a newspaper to access news, while nowadays we can acquire free and diverse information from multiple online platforms such as Facebook, Google, blog and some online news sites.

The rapidly decreasing demands of physical newspaper reduce the incentives for businesses to pay for the print newspaper advertisement. Consequently, it is urgent for the traditional media outlets to restore the disappearing revenue.

Steven Waldman, a former senior adviser to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, claims that there is a duty of Google, Facebook and Apple to ‘donate 1% of their corporate profits’ to support traditional journalism, which is ‘ruined by them’.

However, blames would not save the traditional journalism. Innovating the traditional journalism and changing the funding model would be a much useful solution. Some traditional media outlets and journalists react creatively to the digital revolution and gain great success. Some mainstream Chinese news media (Financial Network) started to use social media such as Weibo and Wechat to interact with their audiences. Through analysing the amount of comments and ‘like’ on each news they release, they can understand the social focus and popular trend that netizens are interested in. As the news media can attract more audiences by posting news that accurately cater to audiences’ likes, businesses start to reinvest in advertising on those news media.


Some individual journalists also found their way out. For example, an Australian fashion blogger Margaret Zhang established an online fashion website and attracted lots of sponsors.


In order to find a suitable funding model and survive in this reform of media, traditional journalism should react actively and adapt themselves to the new pattern of how people access information,



Sexism in Technology Industry

In the current technology culture, women are extremely under-represented. The technology journalism audience is often male, and female usually suffered from discrimination. A 2016 study conducted by ‘Elephant in the Valley‘found that 60 per cent of women in technology industry faced sexual discrimination and bias.

In a tech startup pitching contesting at Silicon Valley at the beginning of 2015, a company co-founder and CEO received an amount of catcalling. Although she tried to ignore the unwanted attention, she is still worried about her name or gender might imperil the future funding of the company.

It is not a single case. In the TechCrunch’s annual award show in the same time period, T.J. Miller, the presenter repeatedly called Ms Gabi Holzwarth as “bitch”.

These incidents are the tip of the iceberg of the sexist behaviour in the tech industry.


Silicon Valley Conference for Women on February 24, 2015.

A research director at the Clayman Institute said that the situation that woman are under-represented in the industry encourages the discrimination behaviour and “reinforces the power dynamics between men and women.”

One way to keep the career smooth is to “ignore the slights and oafish comments”, said by Bethanye Blount, the co-founder and CEO of Cathy Labs.

While keeping silence is not the right decision and will not help other female fellows to get the respect and treatment they deserved, said by Recode. Recode indicates a few suggestions for woman working in the technology industry: continue learning to bring in different voices into your own worldview, and apply the knowledge you have learned to help your female colleagues and “bolster their position in the workplace.”

Female technology journalists are undervalued as well. Although they may bring a unique and nuanced female perspective in techonology reporting, they are disrespected just because of their gender.

Although the process may be slow, women will get what they deserve in the industry oneday if they can fight together towards this unfair pehnomenon. And people should treasure femal worker and journalists in technology field.



The hidden peril behind “Digital Journalism”

Traditional news media has experienced major changes from physical newspaper to multiplatform since the wide use of the Internet in the mid-1990s. After noticing the decline sales of newspaper and magazines, media has rapidly adapted themselves to the multi ways of content delivery, from website to social media.

Nowadays, many mainstream media have their own website and social media account such as Facebook and Twitter. Each media try to compete with each other by providing more timely and exciting news to audiences, in the words of  FT executive, ‘to keep the site dynamic’. Somehow it created a culture of hype where news are sometimes over-exaggerated or even “made up” to catch the audiences’ eyes.

In China, some mainstream media such as WangYi News and SouHu News are criticized and blamed by audiences for posting news that do not exist or only partially true. This is because some editors rush to be the first to report a “news” on social media or website, which result in their easily making a misinterpretation out of context without a in-depth investigation. Besides, some fake news are made up by netizens.

More and more people are now used to access news and information online especially from social media, while large amount of them cannot efficiently distinguish misinformation. Therefore, news media should take their responsibilities to help creating a environment where audiences can access valuable and reliable information and news. It can be achieved by strengthening the auditing of news material and helping clarifying misinformation for audiences.