Since the rise of social and digital media, the way in which we consume our daily news is changing. Previously, the audience was merely a spectator, limited in a gatekeeping structure until recently, however, where the audience has cultivated a participatory culture dependent on digital media. New technologies such as the iPhone, Android and iPads are stepping stones from which users can consume news quicker and more efficiently and threaten the broadcast media environment – although some students at the University of Wollongong agreed, some could not imagine the journalism industry without broadcast media at the forefront of it.
One first-year student, Mia Pritchett, questions the ambiguity of online news stories and hints to the ‘direct’ version of the story being more reliable, ‘I do not think online journalism has the ability to do this [overshadow broadcast media] as there is so much variety and opposing views on every fact and situation within online journalism…they [the public] tend to look toward more direct sources such as the news on the television, newspaper and radio.’ The accuracy and evidence in some online reports may well be questioned but is that the only reason why broadcast media will remain the primary source for news?
Another student, Cassie Beale, emphasised that the media giants in Australia are just too powerful to overshadow, ‘I mean, although online broadcasting is popular, the newspapers and television channels in Australia are monopolised by a few key figures who make millions of dollars from their broadcasting, especially channels like Fox Sports, dedicated specifically towards sports journalism.’ The enormity of some media corporations secures their present and future, and perhaps it remains that the most reliable and convenient form of journalism is through the television or newspaper.
Nevertheless, the relentless activity on Twitter does provide the audience with instantaneous news, suspicious or not, and some love to be constantly up-to-date in a busy working environment. University student Michelle Flavia Silaen enjoys following the news about two of her favorite football teams Chelsea and Manchester City via Twitter and contrary to Mia and Cassie’s opinion, Michelle believes that, ‘online journalism is becoming more and more relevant in today’s society as it is what the public uses daily.’ Whether the rise of digital journalism will eventually upset the established monological media paradigm is yet to be seen, but it certainly needs to be analysed, as the audience begins to embrace a culture using new technologies and social media to disseminate information quicker and easier than ever before.
One student at the University of Wollongong, Brian Wilcock, did not hold back when asked about the potential of digital media and whether it could change the media hierarchy, ‘Of course it has the potential and will overshadow traditional broadcast media. Print media are already suffering because they can’t adjust their business models as profoundly and swiftly as they need to. Newspapers are doomed, but magazines and journals might survive a niche, quality, expensive product. That is, so long as they market in such a way that consumers see value and want to buy them.’