The changing relationship between journalism and its audiences


The relationship between journalism and its audiences has always been complicated. On the one hand, journalism serves its audiences. It provides news which are needed and cared by audiences to realize its function of providing information, education and entertainment. On the other hand,  audiences tend to be passive receptors of content. Although media coverage largely depends on audiences, journalists are those who decide what counts as news and what can be covered. The audience, in a sense, is oriented by journalism and plays a subordinate role. In the broadcast era, audiences were more limited. They had few opportunities to share their viewing experience and generate content.

Digital media, however, makes it possible for audiences to participate in the creating of news. Audiences can convey, share, discuss and even remix content of news happening around them through digital media such as Facebook and Google. Digital media creates digital audiences, which encourages audience participation. The participatory culture also facilitates the improvement of news: to be more truthful, timely and readable. This is because in many contexts, audiences tend to be the witnesses of an accident, who know the information more accurately. Thus, digital networked media continue and accelerate deep structural changes in the way public spheres are produced.

The journalist is no longer the sender and the audience is no longer the receiver. Audiences can also affect the selection, presentation, aggregation and distribution of information. ‘The shift away from the we write you read dogma of modern journalism’ (Loosen & Schmidt 2012, sec. 5, par. 4) shows the advancement of democracy and the re-connection between journalism and audiences.


The Role of Media and News Platforms in Electoral Politics


Do you pay much attention on Facebook or Twitter? Have you made comments on the political issues?

Nowadays,it’s difficult to measure the precise impact of Facebook and other social media platforms on international election system, however, political experts and academics find it hard to deny that Facebook’s global influence is powerful since almost a quarter of people on the world has Facebook accounts.dcd5494c863e2bbd5d380005961ae7a8

With the advent of the diverse media platforms, the media platforms have inherited the role the traditional media on the electoral politics. To a large extent, the mode, process and trend of electoral political activities were changed by Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. The interaction between the candidate and the voters is increasing, and the direct effect of this two-way exchange is that the voters have the opportunity to participate directly in the electoral political activities. On the one hand, the interactive effects that online political expression have increased their interaction and communication. On the other hand, the impartiality of electoral activities has also been guaranteed.

080856zc7xz2sy2dxu6yf6While the fact, not surprisingly, has found that the mounting evidence of positive impacts, it also revealed that news platform can have a negative effect on election system.

USA President Obama made a speech during the general election, accusing Facebook and other social media platforms from spreading false news. The US presidential election has thrust Facebook and other media platforms into the spotlight in the digital age, and what’ more, a large number of leaders, advocates and ethnic groups around the world have been facing a lot of false network information and abuse, and they have created the adverse political influence on the real world. Over the years, social networks have largely failed to curb false information. Some conservative governments have closed a number of websites, calling them to spread fake news.  Over the years, Facebook, Google and some other media platforms have not begun to take effective measures to curb this trend.



  • Donath, J 2016, Why fake news stories thrive online, CNN, America, viewed 20 November 2016, < >
  • Yamamoto, M., Kushin, M. and Dalisay, F. 2015, ‘Social media and mobiles as political mobilization forces for young adults: Examining the moderating role of online political expression in political participation’. New Media & Society, 17, no.6, pp.880-898.

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.



The influences of digital platforms on Chinese news

Nowadays, digital platforms have changed the way in which many of us produce, access, discuss and share news stories. Although some western social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked in China, their Chinese equivalents are popular and influential.

Weibo and Wechat currently dominate Chinese social media landscape, they are just like the king and queen in terms of their social influence and power. They also affect journalism because of the reliable news sources shared by their users.


Weibo is a Chinese micro-blogging website (also available as a mobile app), often seen as the combination of 70% Twitter and 30% Facebook. On the Twitter side, each post has a 140-character limit. On the Facebook side, users have many more options with regard to sharing music and videos, creating polls and campaigns, and they can personalize their profiles a lot more.


WeChat is a free moblie communication app. It provides text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, sharing of photos and videos as well as location sharing. However, in the western market, we don’t see any clear counterpart for WeChat.


It is widely believed that China’s media is supervised by government, however, some digital platforms such as Weibo and Wechat make it possible that the media function is changing from propaganda tools to multifunctional media gradually. They provide opportunities for citizens to reveal the dark side of society such as income inequalities, official corruption and some emergency accidents. Therefore, many journalists can acquire news information through these platforms.

Many news agencies have registered their own official accounts on Weibo and WeChat to post daily news for the large audiences. News, affected by digital platforms, has undergone great changes in reporting and releasing modes. These platforms make news to meet the user’s personal and individual needs.



Low Quality On Social Media Posts

Social media has become important, so the number of journalists who use digital media to report news have increased. However, at the same time, the reliability of the social media posts is suspected. In order to obtained a wide responses of readers, journalists uses a lot interesting topic but low quality news.


Journalists do less fact-checking when they report news on online. Nearly 33% of journalists believe that the social media posts are not creditable, but 50% of them still use those posts as the main source of information.

A new motto is  ‘publish first, correct if necessary’. There are only 20% of journalists who check their news before publishing on social media. Many journalists think that quick publishing posts is more important than checking the facts. Generally, they publish the news at first, then they will change the content if it leads to something negative effacts.

In addition, the journalists rules on social media lacks supervision compared with traditional media. Thus, sharing private opinion of journalists has become a popular on online.

Moreover, journalists pay more attention to the click rate, than caring the quality of posts. For example, they choose and use those exaggerated titles to attract the audiences.

According to the current social media environment, propagating right rules to improve the reliability of social media posts is necessary, for example, emphasizing the importance of fact-checking and reducing the expressing the personal view of jouranlists. Furthermore, traditional media and social media should have the same platform of rules and regulations on journalists.



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.



The history of China’s social media

The history of the Internet is entwined with the history of human communication. From the emergency of e-mail in the 1970s to various APPS and visual websites in modern life, the historical development of “WWW” is closely linked with human development.

damndigital_a-history-of-social-media_cn_cover_2012-12-06China’s social media has changed the means of communicating with others, more and more Chinese people begin to use social media and spend much time in social media. Actually, the development of social media in China in the Web2.0 era has experienced a wide range of stages. And China’s social media development can be divided into three main stages:

A. Early social network – BBS era

Social network originates from BBS in the Web1.0 era. BBS is a point-to-face communication. May 1994, China’s first forum, the dawn of BBS, was established.  The creation of the forum opened a new interactive platform, which can let the general public use the forum and communicate with strangers. End of the World, Mop, West Temple are all typical BBS during that time.1-131114093502F2

B. Leisure and entertainment social network era

Social networking has made considerable progress by leisure and entertainment industry. In 2004, social networking officially entered the Web2.0 era with the emergency of Facebook. Impacted by the development of international social media, there are many social networking products have emerged in China, including video sharing, SNS community and so on. Renren set up in 2005 and Happy set up in 2008 both made a landmark progress about the Chinese social network.

C. Micro-information social network era

August 2009, Sina launched microblog products, which only included 140 words of instant messages, pictures, video and other multimedia means. The function of forwarding and commenting makes this product quickly popular in China. This model has taken the social network into public’ vision.