Digital Media and New Forms of Journalism

Digital Media and New Forms of Journalism

Lambrini Papadopoulou, Theodora A. Maniou
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3479-3.ch078
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The chapter offers a theoretical overview and understanding on issues regarding the way technological disruption transforms old habits and practices in newsrooms leading to innovative storytelling that transcends time and space. The emergence of social media as a main news source, the extensive use of mobile platforms and the advent of complex technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are paving the way for new forms of journalism that are shaping the future of the industry. In this context, this chapter defines and adequately describes the term digital media while, at the same time it sheds light on new forms of journalism that arise from the vast outspread of ‘smart technology' such as conversational journalism, data journalism, drone journalism, network journalism, robot journalism, selfie journalism, slow journalism, and virtual reality journalism.
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The term digital media is used to refer to digitalized (information or other) content that can be transmitted via the internet and/or a computer network. Initially, this content could (potentially) include text, audio, video and/or graphics, although since the early 2000s this variety of elements has been enriched by new forms of journalism emerging from a range of technological trends, particularly the rapid spread of smart technology.

In the early days of Web 2.0, users could locate media content through the internet; however, this content offered the same information, in terms both of quantity and quality, as the traditional media, whereas new content was available only via paid subscription platforms (van der Wurff, 2008). Since then, media have converged at spectacular speed: from smartphones to radios, television sets to tablets, newspapers to computers, the audience increasingly moves between an ever-extending menu of media platforms (Cushion & Sambrook, 2016). The notion of digitally converged media technologies has been the object of widespread attention since the 1990s, initially focused on the convergence of broadcast television and the networked computer, later evolving to include all media entities.

One of the most widely observed consequences of the growth in digital media is audience fragmentation. As more offerings are delivered on broadband networks and more choices are available on-demand, patterns of consumption become more widely distributed (Webster & Ksiazek, 2012). Furthermore, media convergence in the digital age is frequently used both in the academic field and the media industry to denote the ongoing restructuring of media companies as well as to describe developments in media forms, distribution and consumption. The use of the concept has developed from being mainly connected with digitalization in media technology to also include elements of the ongoing process of integration, combination, competition and divergence (Appelgren, 2004).

Although the rapid evolution of digital media raised questions regarding the future survival of traditional media, the latter still constitute a significant part of the media system. The co-existence of traditional and digital media brought forward the notion of hybridity. Hybrid media, developed in the late 1990s, due to the elusive progress of digital technology, rely heavily on interaction and could be described as the result of the deep remixing of previously separate media techniques and languages (Manovich, 2007). Chadwick, Dennis & Smith (2016) describe the hybrid media system as a system built on interactions among older and newer media logics, where logics are defined as bundles of technologies, genres, norms, behaviors and organizational forms. Actors in this system are articulated by complex and ever-evolving relationships based on adaptation, interdependence, concentrations and diffusions of power. Actors create, tap or steer information flows in ways that suit their goals and in ways that modify, enable or disable others’ agency, across and between a range of older and newer media settings (Chadwick, 2013, p.4).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Robot Journalism: The use of Artificial Intelligence in order to develop algorithms that can generate news and stories from structured data.

Drone Journalism: The use of remotely operated or autonomous drones to acquire pictures and videos that can enrich media content.

Selfie Journalism: A term used to refer to a new tendency in participatory and citizens’ journalism, exercised via mobile devices and based on the practice of posting self-photographs (and/or videos) in social media and thus reproducing content, not based on isolated objects/people/images, etc., but on artefacts framing the ‘author’ of the photograph. These artefacts (either objects/premises or other people) mostly constitute elements of the author’s private life, which, thus, become intentionally public, aiming to attract other people’s attention and (mainly) positive reactions.

Interactivity: A term used to distinguish new from old media, which refers to the communication process between users and between users and computers, through the media.

Network Journalism: A term used to refer to professional journalists and other stakeholders cooperating to produce stories. Networks of professionals and citizens collaborate, corroborate, correct, and ultimately distill the essence of the story that will be told.

Smart Technology: The term ‘smart’ is in fact an abbreviation for ‘Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology’, although it is used with its actual meaning of ‘clever’ to describe any kind of available technology that allows users to connect with internet networks.

Slow Journalism: A term used to refer to the kind of journalism that requires time for deeper reflection and/or investigation about an original subject, avoids sensationalism, is ethical in the treatment of subjects and producers, and uses verifiable and traceable sources and transparent methodology. Instead of desperately trying to compete with social media in a 24/7 news production process with continuous deadlines, slow journalism takes the time to research, double check the information, provide context to readers and make sure that it adheres to the fundamental principles and ethical values of quality journalism.

Hybridity: A mixed system including traditional, digital, and new media.

Digital Media: Digitalized information or other content that can be transmitted via the internet and/or a computer network.

Virtual Reality Journalism: The term refers to the production of news in a way that replicates either a real or imagined environment and allows users to interact within this environment.

Data Journalism: The use of software and online tools in order to analyze and visualize a large amount of complex data.

Conversational Journalism: A term used to refer to voice-powered Artificial Intelligence that provides answers to questions given by users.

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