The development of digital audiences & Challenges it 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 platforms 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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The relationship between audiences and journalists has completely shifted 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 the traditional news delivery is shrinking, funding from the traditional advertisement is shrinking as well. To compete with the peer for audiences’ attention and advertisement opportunities, news media is now undergoing unprecedented pressure. News media and digital journalists are trying hard to bring interesting and timely news to audiences and ready to respond or reply to unpredictable 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. However, this new form of relationship and situation brings great challenges to news media.

Reference:

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.

 

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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 audiences 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. The examples in Australia are Sydney Morning Herald and Financial Times, where the audience can get news push-delivery from their websites and Apps.
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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 with friends by forwarding, reposting the news or posting comment on their own account. People can even create news as parties or witnesses.

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This new form of participatory journalism has 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.
To attract audiences and compete with others, some journalists and mainstream media post news with a 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 the 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 an in-depth investigation. In China, a mainstream media called WangYi News is criticised and blamed by audiences for posting news that does not exist or only partially true.

More and more people access news online especially from social media, while a 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 to create an environment where audiences can access valuable and reliable information and news. And audiences, as the driving force of the spread of news and information, should also learn to spot and distinguish fake news.

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