News blogs and citizen journalism : new directions for e-journalism
Bruns, Axel (2009) News blogs and citizen journalism : new directions for e-journalism. In Prasad, Kiran (Ed.) e-Journalism : New Media and News Media. BR Publishing, Delhi, India, pp. 101-126.
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Even for a casual observer of the journalistic industry it is becoming difficult to escape the conclusion that journalism is entering a time of crisis. At the same time that revenues and readerships for traditional publications from newspapers to broadcast news are declining, journalistic content is being overtaken by a flotilla of alternative options ranging from the news satire of The Daily Show in the United States to the citizen journalism of South Korea’s OhmyNews and a myriad of other news blogs and citizen journalism Websites. Worse still, such new competitors with the products of the journalism industry frequently take professional journalists themselves to task where their standards have appeared to have slipped, and are beginning to match the news industry’s incumbents in terms of insight and informational value: recent studies have shown, for example, that avid Daily Show viewers are as if not better informed about the U.S. political process as those who continue to follow mainstream print or television news (see e.g. Fox et al., 2007). The show’s host Jon Stewart – who has consistently maintained his self-description as a comedian, not a journalist – even took the fight directly to the mainstream with his appearance on CNN’s belligerent talk show Crossfire, repeatedly making the point that the show’s polarised and polarising ‘left vs. right’ format was “hurting” politics in America (the show disappeared from CNN’s line-up a few months after Stewart’s appearance; Stewart, 2004). Similarly, news bloggers and citizen journalists have shown persistence and determination both in uncovering political and other scandals, and in highlighting the shortcomings of professional journalism as it investigates and reports on such scandals.
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