New Frontiers of News Media: New Forms of Expression, Journalism, and Participation

Internet-based applications, particularly the emergence of social networks, user-generated content, and micro-blogging have enabled nearly every Internet user to be a potential broadcaster with the ability to rapidly create, modify, and share digital content and knowledge with millions of other users both locally and globally.

These changes introduce new patterns of communication, break down country borders, and create new forms of creative expression, journalism, and participation.

This unprecedented decentralization of information brought by the Internet has empowered citizens to access information, express themselves, and participate in public debate more than ever. Even in areas where Internet penetration is low, citizens are using mobile phones to send information via text messages to local radio stations, which are still the dominant news media in many parts of the world. Using micro-blogging via cellphones and other such Internet tools, political dissidents under repressive regimes have been able to let the outside world know what is actually happening in their countries.

Nevertheless, we must be cognizant of the fact that how individuals can be empowered to produce quality content and gain the necessary media and information literacy in this newer and more complex information environment remains a challenge.

Food for Thought:

  • How to promote Internet and social networks as a platform for democratic discussion and civic participation?
  • How to empower bloggers and individual users in content production and meaningful participation to enrich citizen’s access to information and exchange of ideas?
  • How to enhance media and information literacy of readers, listeners, and viewers; how to help them learn to find the information they need and critically evaluate the information?
  • What is the role of traditional media in authenticating or verifying information distributed via social networks?
  • How to empower marginalized communities to access information through digital communications tools including mobile phones?
  • Would more traditional media and information literacy approach suffice in this digital age to adequately empower users?
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