[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: Internet & Journalism 1- Alternative is the new mainstream

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Internet & Journalism 1- Alternative is the new mainstream

No one can doubt the impressive knowledge to be found all across the Internet spectrum; from the most up to date global news to the most contrived & irrelevant. Needless to say, it provides an ever increasing amount of knowledge and resources to arm the professional journalists of today. But the internet also grants the ability for everyday Joe/Josephine Bloggs to bypass the need for journalists and top news organisations, effectively *becoming* their own journalist.

With the startling amount of alternative sources of information such as
Rense, Commondreams and Indymedia, professional journalists and ordinary people alike are able to publish their stories online. It is possible for anyone to write a story with research acquired solely from the Internet, which empowers ordinary people to be virtual or 'Superhighway' journalists. More and more readers are turning to the internet and these alternative websites for their daily news digest. Their main attraction is that a large majority of these stories, as well as complementary media, don't appear in the mainstream media. One such example is the revelation of the stark realities about the assault on Fallujah (Iraq). Rense revealed gruesome images of the fighting and of horrific casualties sustained by both sides. The mainstream version on Fallujah was sanitised and at times biased towards the US forces, which is why alternative news websites are gaining popularity. During the last US presidential elections, over a third of voters got their news from the internet. Additionally, it was acknowledged that those voters were generally more knowledgeable than those who got their news from mainstream sources (but fat lot of good that did eh?)

Its impact on professional or mainstream journalism is still debatable. Professionals will undoubtedly be held in higher regard and will most certainly be paid more, however when one works within the corporate structure their work will inevitably be tainted or misused by superiors to suit their agenda. Top media organisations such as News Corp and Time Warner with their billion dollar profits need not fear the likes of
Indymedia. However, as free alternative news sites gain in numbers & popularity, it will be harder for the establishment to exert their political agendas via mainstream channels without being scrutinised and challenged by those in the virtual realm and hence via the public sphere.