Online journalism and democracy relationship

More PRs and fewer journalists threatens democracy | Media | The Guardian

online journalism and democracy relationship

approaches to networked online news journalism, each media model is that journalism in democratic societies has a key role in ensuring citizens are and new relationships between journalism and civil society; reviews how methods of. Democracy and New Media in Developing Nations: Opportunities and Challenges Adam Clayton Powell III. Will the Internet Spoil Fidel Castro's Cuba?. There are two aspects of this new age that journalists must think more deeply and more will destroy the vital link between the people and its press on which democracy depends. The Internet has torn down all the fences.

Professional News Media Use. Respondents rated on a 7-point scale how often they used the following to get political information: Citizen News Media Use. Professional News Media Trust.

online journalism and democracy relationship

Citizen News Media Trust. Strength of Party Identification was measured using an point scale ranging from strong Republican 8. Hypotheses were tested using three sets of hierarchical regres- Analysis sions, one for each dependent variable. The independent variables were entered causally in separate blocks demographics, political orienta- tions, news media trust, and news media use to assess the impact of each block of variables on each dependent variable and to examine the effects of professional and citizen news media use controlling for each other.

Both professional and citizen journalism use related to participa- tion, although only professional journalism use was related to political knowledge see Table 1. Consistent with previous research, older, more educated, and politically interested individuals reported higher levels of political knowledge and participation, both online and offline.

SAGE Reference - Digital Journalism and Democracy

Thus, H2 was partially supported. In response to RQ3, in two out of six possible cases, media trust moderated the relationship between media use and two of the three dependent variables see Table 3. Political Orientations Strength of Partisanship. Cell entries are final-entry OLS standardized coefficients.

For a better understanding of these relationships, both statistical- ly significant interactions were probed by estimating the effect of mini- mum and maximum news media use at low one sd below the mean and high one sd above the mean media trust.

A similar analysis was conducted for the significant interaction between citizen news media use and trust in the model for participation online. Discussion The purpose of this study was to expand the current literature on journalism and its role for political knowledge and participation. The fact that professional journalism is one of the cornerstones of democracy is not new.

Among the many newly formed informational mechanisms taking place in this new digital world, citizen journalism may well lead this trend. This is one of the first studies to compare the unique contribution of pro- fessional journalism side-by-side with citizen journalism on two key indi- cators of democratic citizenship: Results indicate that both professional and citizen journalism have an effect on the political discourse, although the picture is complex.

As with previous findings, professional journalism fosters political learning. Those who consume news through professional news outlets—online and off—tended to score marginally higher in political knowledge than citizen journalism consumers.

online journalism and democracy relationship

In retrospect, considering the nature of cit- izen journalism—hyperlocal, lacking professional oversight or editing, or training in the norms of reporting—it is reasonable to expect some differ- ences between professional and citizen journalism in terms of knowl- edge. The knowledge questions employed, drawn as they were from the headlines of the day, likely favored those who consume traditional, pro- fessional news.

In any case, in order to obtain a robust, reliable, and valid political knowledge measurement, outliers were excluded and the laten- cy of the response was normalized with a baseline response, as recom- mended in other studies.

In relation to political involvement, both types of journalism seem to have a positive impact. The figure plots point estimates of political knowledge for individuals with minimum and maximum levels of professional news media use and with one sd below the mean and one sd above the mean of professional news media trust, holding all other variables constant at their means.

Citizen journalism seems to lead to more mobilizing online, with a greater impact on the way politics are constructed in cyberspace. This is infor- mation made by citizens online for an online world, causing effects on online political participation. That said, blogs tend more toward citizen journalism in that they are largely main- tained by amateurs, lack rigorous editing, rely on an individual source, feature more casual language, and tend toward a narrow issue focus.

While professional journalism is much more commonly used than citizen journalism, the overall level of trust in both forms of journalism does not differ greatly. However, people who tend to trust profession- al journalism will tend to participate less in political activities, whereas people who have higher levels of trust in citizen journalism will tend to get more involved in politics. The figure plots point estimates of online political participation for individuals with minimum and maximum levels of citizen news media use and with one sd below the mean and one sd above the mean of citizen news media trust, holding all other variables constant at their means.

The first interesting finding is the negative correlation between trust in professional journalism and political knowledge.

How The 21st Century Changed Journalism

Being distrustful may provoke a more careful and reflective reading of the news and perhaps spur the seeking of alternative sources of information. A second interaction reveals that people who trust citizen journalism are substantially more active online.

Trusting citizen journal- ism indeed serves as a valuable antecedent for online political engage- ment. Those who really trust that information are motivated to seek it out, engage with it, and may feel more compelled to mobilize accordingly, especially given the often hyper-local nature of this news.

These findings help compare the effects of professional and citizen journalism in the democratic process; however, there are a number of drawbacks in evidence, with one of the most noticeable being the nature of the data. Based on national U. Another suggestion for future research would be to include different dimensions of knowledge, local and national, to under- stand the mechanisms between political knowledge and professional jour- nalism and citizen journalism.

Given the growing popularity and penetration of citizen journalism, and the way it is embraced by professional jour- nalism, this relatively immature news source bears further investiga- tion. This study establishes benchmarks in political knowledge and political participation by which to compare citizen journalism to profes- sional journalism and by which to measure its evolution into a mature news source. While the hypotheses were only partly supported, the con- tribution of citizen journalism—trust and use—to political participation is now established.

Given the continuing demise of traditional profes- sional journalism in the United States, this finding offers additional hope for the continuation of a better-informed democracy.

William Rehg Cambridge, MA: David Apter New York: Free Press, ; Norman H.

A New Journalism for Democracy in a New Age

Anthony Kin Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute, Alfred Hermida and Neil J. It is this problem on news production that bleeds over into the problem of consumers that journalism in the public interest faces. For many of our newsrooms too often work by rote, letting others decide what is important to cover and how it should be covered-letting judgments produced by vested interests be given, at best, equal display with documented, verified information produced by their own dis-interested staff—or, at worse, become the only judgment presented.

online journalism and democracy relationship

Journalists can meet this new challenge only by applying our own enduring values as aggressively to expose these artificial worlds for what they are-self-serving propaganda. The public whose well being as citizens depends on how well we do our work are becoming disillusioned. The public—all of us—are ignorant of many things. They can see, sooner or later, that we failed to ask the right question at the right time; to hold a public official responsible or expose private corruption that threatened their welfare.

In this new world of unlimited producers why should they stick with us? How do we begin the transition to the new journalism this new age requires?

Our first response should be to realize that our old notion of journalist as gatekeeper is obsolete. The Internet has torn down all the fences. Instead of gatekeepers, journalists now become referees. Recognizing these new responses to help consumer contruct their own news package, will require us to be as focused and as constant as the challenges we face-but they have to begin with a more professional approach to our journalism—an approach that instills in each journalist a rigorous method of testing information so that personal, commercial and political biases do not undermine the accuracy of their work.

online journalism and democracy relationship

As Machiavelli said, institutions in order to survive in times of change must return to their roots. Such painstaking verification is vital in an information environment richer than the world has ever seen. This fundamental idea of transparency is simple: In other words, provide your information so that people see how it was developed and can make up their own minds what to think.

And be sure that transparency lets the public see we have kept an open mind—open not only about what we hear but about our ability to understand. Some call this humility. We call it open-mindedness. Avoid an arrogance about your knowledge and be sure you submit your own assumptions to your process of verification.

For as I said before, journalism must be an act of character. An act built on the authority, honesty and judgment of the people. When people decide what news to buy, or what news to watch, or what magazine to purchase, they are making a decision about the judgment, the character, and the values of the journalists who have produced that news.

The people today have grown more skeptical—even cynical—about all the conflicting information that pours over them in forms that look like journalism. Society gives journalists a certain degree of access, status and autonomy but in return expects the irreplaceable service news of issues, characters and institutions that affect their lives and their communities in a disinterested rather than in a selfish manner.

Our unswerving commitment to maintaining the public trust and making sense of the flood of information available today is the only way journalism can retain the economic base to assure its survival. We cannot meet these obligations unless we consciously create a newsroom culture that rewards critical thinking and discourages and exposes dishonest behavior. Such a culture begins with a new focus on these issues by editors. One unrecognized impact of the new competitive atmosphere has been to draw editors more deeply into management of the newsroom at the expense of the more critical jobs of editing and mentoring young journalists.

Editors must develop more mechanisms of quality that place responsibility for the credibility on each person in the newsroom: But beyond these mechanisms we need to build into the newsroom culture forward-looking quality assurance practices similar to those practiced by doctors in the best teaching hospitals.

In these hospitals every time there is a negative outcome of a doctor-patient interaction the doctor involved appears at a meeting with other staff members at which each step in the procedure is open for examination and criticism-criticism not so much aimed at finding fault, but to learn from the mistakes. Every mistake or omission in our newsrooms should become another learning experience and another opportunity to remind every journalist of their personal responsibility.

These steps may seem too troublesome to some. But the cost of ignoring them and risking corruption of the information and knowledge we provide the public is too great.

online journalism and democracy relationship

For how journalism progresses and how democracy progresses will depend upon how well we discharge this responsibility. Time and again history has taught us the heavy price we pay when the independence, aggressive vigilance, accuracy and credibility of the press fails.

Events in Iraq today are a stark reminder to us in the U. Who can say how the decision by the American government—with the support of a majority of the American public—to invade Iraq may turn out—only time will tell.

And brick by brick the construction of that deceptive virtual world was aided by an American press that did not rigorously enforce an independent journalism of verification. So let me end by reminding us all of the role of journalists, do in a free society. The first publications we would recognize as modern newspapers developed in Western Europe in the early 17th century and made public opinion possible.