Changes in news media audiences

The proliferation of news outlets means that audiences can read and watch their news on various channels and web sites. In other words, media audiences have fragmented. No longer does an overwhelming majority of Canadians sit down in the evening to watch one or two major TV newscasts. People get their news updated throughout the day, when they want it. They surf the web to find the stories that interest them. Some describe these niche audiences as impatient, “remote control” audiences, who want the information they’re seeking without delay and without additional, unsought news.

In response, more and more news outlets cater to smaller and smaller demographics or “niches.” The risk is that journalists will no longer seek to provide the public with comprehensive accounts of the day’s top stories from many areas of life, but will focus narrowly on “niche news” that is of interest to narrow sectors of the population. An additional danger is that the public will no longer come together, through the news media, to deliberate over common issues. Instead, the public will fragment into many special-interest audiences.

Convergence of media

The fragmentation of the news audience has prompted some major news organizations to attempt to “re-assemble” a large news audience by providing news across many media platforms. Major organizations such as CNN in the United States and CanWest in Canada seek to own and provide news via a convergence of their newspapers, television stations and web sites. Meanwhile, journalists are urged to embrace multi-media reporting -- the ability to report for print, broadcast and the internet.

Business Values

As newsrooms become small parts of large corporations, there is a danger that profit-seeking and economic imperatives may cause newsrooms to compromise their ethical standards. Business values, such as the need to meet the demand of investors and advertisers, may trump journalistic integrity. Since many news companies are publicly financed corporations, newsroom owners or their senior staff may feel the pressure of investor-friendly quarterly reports. Inside the newsrooms, journalists may find themselves in conflicts of interest -- reporting on economic and other issues that may have a direct affect on interests of their news corporation.

Some of the positive and negative effects:
Far-reaching change usually has positive and negative effects. The same is true of recent trends in journalism.
Some positive effects of change:
• Interactivity: Increased ability of the public to actively search for their own information and to interact online with news web sites
• Increased public access to different forms and types of media; access to a greater diversity of content
• Reduced “gatekeeping” powers of major news organizations; less power to set the news agenda or manipulate the public’s understanding of events
• New and powerful story-telling methods through multi-media technology
• Convergence in news may mean more resources to probe issues
Some negative effects of change:
• Rise in “journalism of assertion”: unsubstantiated opinion and rumor which harms journalistic credibility; lack of restraint among online writers
• Pressure to lower ethical standards and sensationalize stories
• Public complaints about how a “ubiquitous” media violate personal privacy
• Confusion about who is a journalist, when anyone can publish
• Ethical “vertigo” regarding news values, newsworthiness, credibility. What standards are appropriate for this new “mixed media”?

Precision journalism became a popular term in the late 1970s when computers allowed statistical mining of data.

Phillip Meyer popularized the idea of applying social science methods to journalism so reporters could run data and compare data with relative ease.

So-called precision journalism allowed reporters to spot trends not easily surfaced before comparing data bases.

A journalist has to collect information and present facts in the most effective way to grab the attention of the target audience. In today's fast-paced society there is a need for precision journalism. Journalists use research methods and techniques of social and behavioral science for collecting and analyzing data. They resort to computer-assisted reporting and adopt smart data analysis methods and techniques. They collect information in databases, analyze public records with spreadsheets and statistical programs, and examine demographic facts by using geographic information system mapping.

Requirements of Journalism

A journalist has to gather information and decide what is important. He needs to transmit, organize and interpret available information. He not only works to get his information published, but he makes sure that his article is well-received by his target audience. The role of a journalist is now multifaceted. He is expected to multitask the managing, processing and analyzing of data. He must be concerned about how to gather information, methods of evaluating and analyzing it, and communicating it effectively.

Emergence of Precision Journalism

The switch to precision journalism began with the fast growth of news on television and the shift from 15 to 30- minute newscasts. Television networks had financial capability and resources, and there was a growing demand for more information that is precise, accurate and suitable for arousing interest in the mind of the recipients. Journalists began applying research techniques and methods of social science to various situations, including election coverage. Media no longer relies on reports based on surveys conducted by pollsters. Media conducts its own polls to rule out any discrepancies.

Scientific Journalism

Precision journalism is actually scientific journalism that aims at incorporating data collection, tools of science and a quest for the truth. Journalism is considered to be as precise as science as it adopts and applies scientific objectivity, method and ideals to the mass communication process. Data can easily be retrieved by implementing effective tools of precision journalism. All data can be recovered and used, including exclusive data collected and stored by you and a plethora of information and data available via the internet websites, where data was collected and stored by some other person keeping in mind that a user like you may require it, or data was collected and stored for some other purpose.

Benefits of Precision Journalism

Precision journalism is objective and emphasizes true, essential assertions. Precision journalism aims at resolving conflicts among interest groups, gauging their support and estimating their capacity to influence the outcome. Precision journalism involves measurement and forecasting of electoral behavior that may tend to be controversial.
Alternative journalism is a fluid concept, often casually attributed to a wide array of media practices unified only by being different from the journalism in so-called mainstream media. Such a “definition” can encompass everything from local entertainment weeklies thick with advertising to the clandestine media of revolutionary movements. Recent scholarship has moved beyond this approach to focus on practices that challenge the communicator/audience divide typical of mainstream media, including the range of voices presented, the privileging of marginalized and excluded news sources over traditional elites, a conscious identification with the audience being served, and a conception of journalism that promotes social action ( Atton 2002 ; Downing 2001 ; → Citizens' Media ; Community Media ; Development Journalism ;

Media Democracy Movement ; Social Mobilization ). Although the term is of relatively recent origin, commonly dated to the → underground press of the 1960s, alternative journalism has been around as long as journalism itself (→ Journalism, History of ). Dissidents have contested the terrain of mass communications since the beginnings of recorded history, from the underground printing presses used in eighteenth-century France to the anonymizers and remote hosting sites bloggers use today to evade local censors (→ Blogger ; Censorship ).

Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative. The word "gonzo" is believed to be first used in 1970 to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, who later popularized the style. The term has since been applied to other subjective artistic endeavors.

Gonzo journalism tends to utilize personal experiences and emotions to achieve an accurate representation of a phenomenon, as compared to traditional journalism that favors using a detached writing style and relies on facts or quotations that can be verified by third parties.

Gonzo journalism disregards the strictly edited product favored by newspaper media and strives for a more gritty, personable approach—the personality of a piece is just as important as the event the piece is on. Use of sarcasm, humor, exaggeration, and profanity is common.

Among the forefathers of the new journalism movement, Thompson said in the February 15th, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone, "If I'd written the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people—including me—would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."[


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2. Konev E.F. International Journalism: Introduction to: studies. Tutorial: 3 hours - Minsk: BSU, 2002. - Part 3.
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4. Randall D. Universal journalist. - St., 1999.


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