Module 7- Citizen Journalism: Simply Encoding and Decoding a Message

I think one of the more broad concepts that can apply to each topic we’ve been discussing throughout the year is the relationship between mass media and consumers. How we interact (or don’t interact for that matter) within each medium is just as important as the medium itself. At this point we can agree that just like sharing and downloading music has become democratized, so has the idea of ‘journalism’. It isn’t an outlet set aside for those with a degree hanging on their wall. With the blogging trend becoming a world wide phenomenon and social media sites like Storify or even Pinterest, stories can be told and retold again and again; reinvented in new ways, with new imagery and embellishments. 

As Dahlgren points out, citizen journalism is about giving a voice to the people. Much in the same way the world wide web has done in a general sense. According to Hermida the “journalism industry has been slow to embrace the potential offered by new, Internet-based media forms.” I can understand this claim because it seems as though the idea of journalism in the traditional sense, is set in its ways. There’s something about ‘chasing’ a story and reporting the cold hard facts, a certain credibility that doesn’t come wrapped in a storify ‘article’. That being said, internet based forms open up this option to share and create. We are truly becoming ‘producers’ and, in my opinion, this is only a positive thing in concerns to journalism. 

I also relate to Twitter becoming the best platform for the formation of news circulation. When I first joined Twitter, I didn’t really think it was going to be something I would enjoy, but I find myself checking it constantly because there is always new information. It’s not just people posting about trivial things, there’s actual content on there. The user just has to actively seek it out sometimes (Uses and Gratification theory- Katz et al. ?). Looking back on my storify thread, I had no idea what topic to explore. I happened to log in to twitter and one of the first posts was the 2013 Osheaga line up. It was a cause and effect relationship, a regular Stuart Hall encoding and decoding transaction to a tee, except it is occurring within an online space. The messages are easily absorbed and easily shared. Image

That being said, I don’t know if I necessarily see a concrete place for social activism. What comes to mind first,though I hate to admit it, is Kony. Its a perfect example because even though that video and campaign spread like wildfire, it still didn’t make a lasting impact with consumers. It had the right vehicle to get the message out, and for the most part, regardless if it was positive or negative, it was being talked about. I think one of the downfalls of social media is that as much as it gives us the power to easily share and create, we have the equal power to dismiss. Because there is such a rapid flow of information, it doesn’t surprise me that a topic that is popular today won’t even be carried on in a whisper by next week. We have these choices to accept or ignore. So on one hand, yes social media is empowering. We are producing the stories we hear about, but we also are free to turn our attention to the next best thing at the drop of a hat. 

For this very reason, I find it interesting to look closely at this relationship. With television, we readily change a channel if we don’t want to hear the current events, whats happening now, because lets be honest sometimes we don’t care. But critically speaking, with social media (storify, twitter, pinterest) we have the capacity to become INVESTED in the story or not. How invested we are is up to us. 



About followemc

In West Philadelphia born and raised on the playground where I spent most of my days, chillin out max and relaxin all cool.
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One Response to Module 7- Citizen Journalism: Simply Encoding and Decoding a Message

  1. katemuellez says:

    I agree with you 100% in that twitter has also become by number one source for news and information. I always said I’d never sign up, but I decided to last season before the Blue Jays’ season started. Originally, I found myself following my favourite athletes, musicians, and celebrities; however, quickly I was following my local newspaper, TV station, and an endless number of other news-related twitter feeds. In so many conversations with family and friends, I find myself answering their questions and following it up with “I read it on twitter”. I cannot believe the amount of information I can obtain in a five minute glance at my twitter feed, but I appreciate it so much. In our high-paced society, twitter allows me to stay on top of the news without having to seek it out because it comes directly to me – which I love!

    PS. I’m bought Osheaga tickets after reading the line-up on twitter! If it wasn’t for twitter, I probably wouldn’t have seen it as quickly and would’ve waited too long to buy tickets!

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