Monthly Archives: March 2011

Widening & Deepening

People often refer to September 11, 2001, as the start of globalisation, or at least the realization for most people that globalisation was upon us, and the impact this would have. Since 2001, the world has become more aware that terrorism, the Internet and news can transcend boundaries (Callahan, 2003, p.1).


Globalisation has had two profound impacts on the audience of journalism. Firstly, globalisation has widened the audience of journalism, as global issues now have a local impact and relevance. Secondly, globalisation has encouraged the deepening of journalism, as the citizen journalist emerged and news has become more local.

Take journalism and news media in the Middle East as an example. The audience has widened, as more people worldwide are tuning into what is happening in the Middle East as it has a local impact. It has also deepened within the Middle East, for example a blogger may write a story about a shop in Khewa, Afghanistan shutting down because of increased violence in the village.

The Internet is at the core of the changing audience of journalism as it actively encourages an increase in the spread of news stories through online news (width), and also provides the media for individuals to publish news stories that are deeper on a local level. Mitu explains that it is “the speed, rhythm, and interconnectedness of online media [that] encourage[s] an idea of news as an ‘always on’ utility” (2010, p. 186). With increased accessibility comes a larger and more diverse audience, and people who wouldn’t normally purchase a newspaper are now more aware of local, national and global affairs.

Depth


Steve Johnson, a New York news aggregator, discusses how every morning he checks blogs which cover “a part of my neighborhood and community that I wasn’t getting from The New York Times or other traditional media” (Miller, 2008, p. 30). This shows how the audience of news is growing locally, as news is more specific to the individual users.

Miller (2008, p. 32), discusses how this change in audience interaction with the news has been catalyzed by social media sites “such as Facebook and MySpace” which give “consumers the tools to become self-publishers”. These self-publishing medias have also helped “demolish national censorship regimes which may have created state-constructed fantasies at odds with local realities – as in Cambodia and China” (Knight, 2003, p. 11), and therefore this increase of news depth allowed by the Internet and in particular social media, has had a widespread impact is allowing the participation of the audience in news.

Width

An increase reach of international news, and therefore a more diverse audience, has been aided by globalisation. This can be explained by looking at The London Times in the 1960s whose advertising slogan was ‘Top People Read The Times’, which “was indicative of the confidence newspapers used to have in the social homogeny of their readers” (Thurman, 2007, p. 285). In the 1960s, news had a limited geographical reach as they were restricted by “distribution mechanisms” and therefore journalists were writing for a very narrow readership (Thurman, 2007, p. 285).

Today, the Internet and other distribution methods has allowed The London Times and similar papers to have a global reach, and as a result “audiences are rapidly shifting from almost exclusively local, to communities of interest that transcend geographic and political boundaries” (Thurman, 2007, p. 286). For example, once an almost exclusively UK paper, The Guardian now receives “78 per cent of its web readers from overseas” (Thurman, 2007, p. 287).

Through looking at the changing audience of the news, it is easy to see that the readers, listeners and viewers of journalism are not static, and will continue to change in years to come. This does not

arrive without challenges for journalism, as stated by Professor Alan Knight, “[journalists] must address the challenges of the new technologies — developing multifaceted communications which combine text, audio, television and animation. At the same time, they must also retain the traditional attributes of accuracy, clarity and ethical reporting (2003, p. 13)”. Globalisation of news media has changed the world of journalism, and in the next decade the audience of news will continue to widen and deepen as the Internet provides more ways to view and publish news.

References

Callahan, S. (2003). New challenges of globalization. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 18(1), 3. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Knight, A. (2003). Globalised journalism in the Internet age. Ejournalist.com.au, 3(2). Retrieved from http://ejournalist.com.au/v3n2/knightr.pdf

Miller, R. (2008, July). The new journalism: it’s audience participation time. EContent, 31(6), 30-34. Retrieved March 26, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1508324581).]

Mitu, B. (2010). Cultural journalism and globalization. Geopolitics, History and International Relations, 2(1), 185-190. Retrieved March 26, 2011, from Research Library. (Document ID: 2132388681).

Thurman, N. (2007). The globalization of journalism online. Journalism, 8(3), 285-307. DOI: 10.1177/1464884907076463

BLOG BLOG

Blog are a great media for any individual, whether they are a professional journalist or not, to express their views, review restaurants or products and even write news stories. Journalists are using blogs as a way of providing more personal insights on news stories and most major news networks have their own blogs.


There are also millions of bloggers who consider themselves to be ‘citizen journalists’ who use sites such as WordPress.com, Blogger.com and Tumblr.com to express their views and connect to their community. “Blogs can provide a source of independent and alternative news from traditional mainstream media” (Deibert & Rohozinski, 2007, p. 20), which is refreshing in democratic countries, and even more important in countries where the government controls the media. This explains why in many communist countries, activists are easily attracted to blogging as a way of promoting their cause.

The ease of blogging provides a fantastic tool for individuals worldwide to have their say, but unfortunately this can lead to negative consequences when blogging threatens the state’s control of media (Deibert & Rohozinski, 2007). The silencing of bloggers mainly occurs in non-democratic regimes, which poses more problems as the “accused bloggers are often burdened by limited or no access to legitimate justice systems” (Deibert & Rohozinski, 2007, p. 22).

As the Internet becomes more accessible in countries worldwide, so does blogging, and this has resulted in an increase in the number of blogger arrests. “The most common declared cause of blogger arrests is ‘anti-state activity’” (Deibert & Rohozinski, 2007, p.23). These bloggers usually question their state’s leadership or encourage anti-government movements including protests. The graph below shows the locations that the arrests have been taking place up until 2007, highlighting that Iran, Bahrain and China are the three highest arresters of bloggers. All of these countries are military dictatorships or communist regimes.

The BBC believes that the rising rate of blogger arrests is “testament to the growing political importance of blogging” (BBC News, 2008). This has been evident more than ever in the 2011 protests in the Middle East and North Africa. Reporters Without Borders, an organization that encourages press freedom, has reported on “the arrests and disappearances … of bloggers and online activists across a number of Tunisian cities” (Reporters without Borders, 2011). Tunisia is a good example of where there has been very little traditional media allowed in the country due to a crack down by authorities, and social media including blogs have provided the majority of news, pictures and videos to an international audience.

The exact number of blogger arrests is unknown, because a lot of the information does not make it to the main media. Some interesting examples of bloggers arrests:

Palestine: A Palestinian blogger named Waleed Khalid Hassayin was arrested in 2010 for a blog he wrote called ‘The Enlightened Mind’ which provided arguments against religions (Gharbia, 2010).

Saudi Arabia: “A Saudi blogger, Fuad Al-Farhan, noted for his promotion of moderate reform in Saudi Arabia has been arrested” (Crossroads Arabia, 2007) for what the Saudi government justified as ‘funding terrorism’.

Bahrain: A Bahranian blogger, Ali Abdulemam, was arrested in 2010 for discussing democracy on this blog, and is still in jail today (Hopkins, 2010).

Burma: Nay Phone Latt, a blogger in Burma “informed the outside world about the military junta’s brutal crackdown during pro-democracy protests in September 2007” (Morillon, 2008). Latt was sentenced to 20 years non-parole jail time. Furthermore, Latt’s lawyer was then jailed for criticizing the sentence given.

This is a just a small snapshot of the large number of bloggers that have been arrested in previous years, and unfortunately this number is just going to continue to rise as blogging becomes more widespread. These situations really highlight the power of words and the impact that a blog can make, especially in repressive regimes. If countries including Egypt, Libya and Tunisia come out of the current protests as fairer, stronger and more progressive countries, then a large amount of the credit can be attributed to the role of social media, in particular blogging, for encouraging the population to demand change.

Bibliography

BBC News. (2008, June 16). Blogger arrests hit record high. Retrieved February 11, 2011, from BBC World News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7456357.stm

Crossroads Arabia. (2007, December 23). Saudi Blogger Arrested. Retrieved February 11, 2011, from Crossroads Arabia: http://xrdarabia.org/2007/12/23/saudi-blogger-arrested/

Deibert, R., & Rohozinski, R. (2007). Good for Liberty, Bad for Security? Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Gharbia, S. B. (2010, November 13). Palestinian blogger arrested. Retrieved February 11, 2011, from GlobalVoices : http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2010/11/13/palestinian-blogger-arrested-for-criticism-of-islam-on-facebook/

Hopkins, C. (2010, September 7). Bahranian Blogger Arrested, Probably Tortured. Retrieved February 11, 2011, from Read Write Web: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/bahraini_blogger_arrested_probably_tortured.php

Morillon, L. (2008, November 14). Burmese Blogger Sentenced to 20 Years for Reporting on Protests. Retrieved February 11, 2011, from Media Shift: http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2008/11/burmese-blogger-sentenced-to-20-years-for-reporting-on-protests319.html

Reporters without Borders. (2011, January 7). Wave of arrests of bloggers and activitsts. Retrieved February 11, 2011, from Reporters Without Borders: http://en.rsf.org/tunisia-wave-of-arrests-of-bloggers-and-07-01-2011,39238.html

Simon, M. (2008, April 25). Student Twitters his way out of Egyptian jail. Retrieved February 11, 2011, from CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/TECH/04/25/twitter.buck/index.html