Article summary: An Nguyen

In Honours blog on August 7, 2009 at 5:43 am

Nguyen, An. “Journalism in the wake of participatory publishing”. The University of Queensland, 2006.

” that participatory publishing provides a golden opportunity for
traditional journalism to rethink and react in the way it is meant to be. In order to
survive well with the ideal of public service, however, journalism must change from a
lecture to a conversation,” (pg. 2)

“In South Korea, within only three years
since its launch on 22/02/2000, OhmyNews, a collaborative news service operating
with the motto: “Every citizen is a reporter”, had become the country’s most
influential online news site” (pg. 5)

“However, in general, Australian online participation remains much more limited than
in the US.” (pg. 6) Is this still true three years on??

Australia has generally been slow in taking up these opportunities for communication. “Except for the ABC and, to some extent, the SBS, which have a fairly rigorous
tradition in tapping the power of forums, weblogs, podcasting and other online
participation services, the Australian commercial media have generally been rather
indifferent to the potential of online PP platforms. When locating resources for this
article, I found it quite astonishing that it was not until 2004 that weblogs began to
receive a substantial coverage, if any, in commercial publications. Blogger and
academic Axel Bruns (2005, web document) went further to accuse traditional
media’s online outlets of continuing to “hinder rather help their users” to engage in
online content and public debate via such mechanisms such as using online
registration as a compulsory requirement for full content access.” (pg. 7)

Some Australian companies are breaking the mould. ” Despite this, there have been a few notable successes that indicate the potential
influence of PP on the outcome of public affairs in Australia – such as the breaking of
the well-known Meg Lees and the Kernot/Evans affairs by the notorious
Crikey.com.au, which had a mailing list of 6,500 elite subscribers as of September
2005″ (pg. 8)

This doesn’t have to mean the end of journalism. “the power to govern the public sphere no longer belongs solely to
the media, generating abundant speculations about the death of journalism in online
communities. This, however, should be seen as excessive technological determinism:
PP, when closely examined, can even intensify the crucial role of journalism – a more
reactive and responsive journalism, to be exact – in the information age.” (pg. 8)

“As Rebecca Blood – a most
authoritative voice in the world of weblogs – is radically correct in declaring: “The
weblog’s greatest strength – its uncensored, unmediated, uncontrolled voice – is also
its greatest weakness” (quoted in Lane, 2002, web document). The same thing applies
to online forums, chat rooms, bulletin boards and the like in this “publish, then filter”
– rather than “filter, then publish” – world, as Clay Shirky (2002, web document)
called it. The online public sphere, therefore, risks easily becoming a chaotic and
anarchic space, which might eventually turn people into more sensationalised and
even more desensitised, rather than scientifically critical, citizens.” (pg. 10)

“the need for the
professional moderation and facilitation of a responsible journalism to avoid further
social and ideological fragmentation and to work toward consensus is still there, if not
intensified.” (pg. 10)

“responsible journalism would only have an even higher chance to become a lifebuoy
for a public being swamped in an information overload. And in a time when
technologies allow ordinary people to even fool the whole global media system (such
as the self-produced video clip of Nick Berg’s beheading in 2003), the gate-keeping
function of the press is strengthened rather than becomes obsolete.” (pg. 11)

“What if journalists still do not care? At the best, the emerging “fifth estate” will act as
the “gatekeeper of gatekeepers”, using their collective power to correct it.” (pg. 17)

“advertisers have begun to tap the power of
PP, sounds a warning toll that if journalism is not performed well, the rising PP
ventures might become a good alternative. If this happens, the most practical outcome
would be clear: declining readership trends would continue; advertising funding
would plunge; and certainly loss of job opportunities for journalists themselves would
occur.” (pg. 18)


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