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JOURNALISM IN THE DIGITAL WORLD


HOW AUDIENCE IS NOW THE GATEKEEPER OF INFORMATION INSTEAD OF THE JOURNALIST THEMSELVES


Journalism became significant during world war. Audiences really needed journalist to disseminate information quickly and fast. They assumed all the news was true and they were really relying on them. At that time, journalist was the gatekeeper of information. However, new advanced technology had changed the journalist’s function. Audience began to be the gatekeeper during the emergence of printed media. If they were not satisfied with the news, they could send complaint letter to the editor hoping for publish. Yet the problem is the possibility to be published or aired is not sure. The emergence of digital world, make the opportunity to express opinion is wider.

The internet and World Wide Web give big opportunity to audiences to involve in journalism. There are many tools that can be used in the internet for them disseminating information and knowledge to the whole world. Audiences now can be journalists easily; they can use website, blog, wikipedia, You Tube, iReport and Citizen Journalist. Furthermore, it is easy to hide behind the anonymity afforded by the medium of Internet. So, they can write anything they want, they can write chain letters or to defraud, threaten or stalk people in Internet.

Wikipedia is more likely as free encyclopedia. It functions just like dictionary, and it is multilingual. Generally, audiences will write definition about something. And then follow by anything related to the words or phrases. They can write anything they want, depends on their knowledge. However, this wikipedia can be changed or renewed by anyone who may think they have more knowledge. Here, we have to be careful because all the information is unreliable. Audiences as the gatekeeper, sometimes is dangerous to us because they will give wrong information and wrong facts.

You Tube is one tool that permits audiences to send their video, any video which they like. We can watch any current news that not aired in radio or television. Usually, incidents happen at the rural and isolated area. Even though it gives opportunity to us publish any video we have, it can give bad impact to us. For example, controversy video about a boy sang “Lagu Negaraku” and he changed the song. This matter had surprised Malaysia and made Malaysians felt angry and offended.

Since 1999, the blog has become a pervasive communication and information-sharing Internet-based tool in certain segments of our society. Within education, it is becoming much more widely used and will continue to expand rapidly as instructors learn about its adaptability for the classroom. Not only will an ever-increasing number of individuals likely use blogs in the instructional process, everyone in this world will use blogs. Blogs can be seen as the next generation of newsgroups where peer-to-peer communication can occur.


Since 2001, bloggers have blogged more on politics. One of the reasons for this could be because of the need for personal opinions on issues such as 11 September attacks. At that time, radio and television were not used effectively as citizens needed current news from time to time. Thus, Internet becomes the most accessible medium to get news because of bloggers can provide up-to-the-minute news stories, before mainstream media follow and elaborate. Blogs can bring key information to public light, with mainstream media having to follow their lead. Because of complex blogging tools and mobile computing being available, blogs can be published almost instantaneously as news happens. Thus, more news can be published in a quicker way.


Starting in 2004, more people are able to write blogs because more sophisticated yet easy to use blogging software has emerged. For example, vivid accounts of 2004 Tsunami victims are found mostly on blogs rather than on mainstream media. Blogs can uncover issues that mainstream media miss or hide intentionally. For instance, the authenticity of documents critical of George W. Bush’s National Guard service was questioned by a person nicknamed “Buckhead” and other people started to link the issue, including a reporter named Matt Drudge. Drudge then produced the “Drudge Report” which was aired on CBS. After that, ABC disputed the credibility of the accusations causing something of a scandal. This advantage makes public trust blog more than formal.

So, it is good when audiences can be the gatekeeper in this digital age instead of the journalist themselves. However, they should consider what they really want when sending information to people around the world.




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