Two of the main components of journalism is to inform and strike a debate among your audience. But sometimes qualified journalists can be too out of touch with the people as they may sometimes be a little bit, and I say this with respect to news followers, too intelligent or do things too much by the book with using journo terminology. And this, most of the time becomes borderline robojournalism. As there seems to be no human effect or human touch in a story. But one thing the audience or the public really enjoys is the concept of open journalism, where they can throw in their two cents’ worth on a matter.
Open journalism is the openness, acceptance of whatever ideas or input the public has on a published issue, story or opinion piece. (click here for full story) What is really working and perpetuating open journalism is the emergence and ever-rising popularity of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. News is now readily available from major media houses as it happens on social networks, and this is where the public can really put in their opinions, notions, perceptions and sometimes concerns about the reported matter. Should they choose, they can even share it and with a caption that is biased to their point of view and sometimes it is of a misleading nature. The invitation and grant for a response inspires participation and creates synchronic interest from people around subjects, issues or individuals. This form of journalism can very easily be conjugated with other material on the internet.
FEELING THE FINANCIAL CRUNCH
Recently this year, a very well respected national news agency, The South African Press Association (SAPA), experience an unfortunate period of financial troubles and were, on the 31st of March this year, liquidated. Now this was some kind of wake up call to most media houses to do some cutting back on costs. (click here for full story). Now cutting back included the retrenchment of some journalists (well respected journalists at that). So this was a sort of an evolution of journalism, as now pieces and stories that are written are those that require debate. This is to get the public audience involved.
But this is not very much enticing to journalists as they feel people with no journalistic quality, integrity or qualification can influence people to believe and allure them into helping them promote or push their particular propaganda. And sometimes the negativity can be brutal. Now imagine working so hard to inform someone, only to end up with your character and well supported findings being brutally bullied and butchered in the public eye by someone with opinions making sense only to them. And the fact that some of the the most important, interesting and relevant stories are remembered by their comments line/column. News24 recently, after much debate and deliberation (so they say), bid their comments line adieu, voicing that they wish to be known for the quality of their content rather than for their comments (click here for full story).
I say this is absolutely a journalist’s nightmare because open journalism can be unfair. Journalists are not politicians, there should be no platform to invite unnecessary bashing of their craft. Should they not promote propaganda for war or promote hate speech and incite violence, they shouldn’t answer to the public. Their job is to create debate, so the audience can have their debate in their own spaces.
‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHABHAYINI!