Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It is Time to Adapt


Alexandria Keller

Photo provided by Labs 64. People position themselves around a table using numerous types of technological devices.
Today, with the touch of a button you can snap a clear photo, send an important message to a colleague, and scour the Web for one cite among its billions. Technology is allowing people to obtain and transfer information at the speed of light with minimal effort from themselves.

Then why is technology, especially the Internet, criticized every day for ruining the value of accurate journalism? Is it the technology not adapting to the journalistic style or is the journalist not adapting to the style of the Internet?

I believe it is the journalist not adapting to the style of the Internet. Also, I believe this applies to not just the ‘set and stone’ journalist but every individual that partakes is the fast moving mass media today. I believe that today’s society need to adapt as a whole to the speed of technology, specifically the Internet.

In the late 1600's, newspapers were beginning to make their way onto the tables of civilians. The pages were full of extremely biased editorials that either pulled you one way or the other politically. This style of reporting continued for about a century before writers and their readers demanded that their papers be full of more news rather than opinions.

By the mid-1800's, newspapers were not just adapting to what the people wanted but what they needed as well. According the Local Histories. Org, in 1855 the stamp duty on newspapers was abolished and they became cheaper and more common. This increased the availability of newspapers and their information to the public, and as a result became a great influence in society.

However, people began to take advantage of that influence in the 1890's through forms of yellow journalism. Yellow journalism is reporting for sensationalism over providing facts. This corruption of journalism hit its peak at 1898 when a U.S. battleship was sunk in the Havana Harbor of Cuba.

Rather than report the actual facts, reporters instead sent back rumors of how the ship was sunk. These rumors outraged the U.S. and, according to the U.S Department of State: Office of the Historian, sparked the beginning of the Spanish-American war. Pretty bad right?

Eventually, newspapers realized that they were causing damage by now providing accurate information and began creating Ethics Codes to follow when reporting.

Now fast-forward another century, people are starting to use a new medium to search information with some forms of sharing. According to Internet Society, the Internet became available to people in the early 1990's and has dramatically increased since then.

Finally, jump merely 20 years to today where people are constantly navigating this extremely available resource for not only research but for communication and postings of conclusions and information writers have formed themselves.

While it may not have seemed like this is a huge step that was taken very fast. It is and it is a step society will need to adjust to.

Look back at the newspaper. It took about a century until the newspaper was about to adapt into a form of communication that was able to be mass produced enough and factual enough to be utilized by its readers. Then in a short 40 years reporters were already beginning cause problems of accuracy with the new medium through yellow journalism.

Sound familiar? In only 20 years of using the Internet (including learning how it works) problems are again rising with accuracy in journalism. However, society and news outlets need time to adapt and work out the kinks.

I’m not saying there needs to be another war before the problem of accuracy of news on the Internet is solved but society needs to realize that rather than fascinate themselves on speed, quantity and flashiness, readers need to demand accuracy and quality.

Society needs to adapt not technology.  

No comments:

Post a Comment