Considering That Printing and Steam Technologies Enabled Traditional Journalism to Flourish, How Will Advances in Modern Technology Affect Citizen Journalism, and How Will This Impact on Traditional Journalism?
Technological advances have been inextricably linked to the ability to disseminate information since the invention of the written word. From monks copying bibles by hand, we progress towards the invention of the printing press which was a massive paradigm shift, and had cascading repercussions on many aspects of everyday life.
Later we have the emergence of broadcast mediums such as radio and television, and finally the Internet which have each changed the way we consume information.
This essay will briefly explore the emergence of traditional journalism in media such as newspapers, and examine how they only became possible once the right technology was available to facilitate it. It will also examine the phenomenon that is citizen journalism.
This term is meant to include those individuals who take it upon themselves to write and spread information without support or motivation from an organised media group, whatever their chosen medium. This has it’s roots in photocopied newsletters, which were traditionally niche publications with a limited distribution and a solitary reporter.
What citizen journalism needed to flourish was a medium where the overhead costs were not linked to distribution numbers in a linear way; this came in the form of the Internet. Once it had attracted widespread adoption it took off as a means of cheap publishing that could reach an international audience. Therefore, in this essay when we use the term citizen journalist, we primarily mean online citizen journalist.
The term ‘citizen journalist’ and the term ‘blogger’ (an abbreviation of web-logger) can be considered interchangeable, and taken to mean someone who uses the Internet to disseminate articles written and researched by one person.
This sort of online citizen journalism also has been altered by new technology, despite it’s relatively short life-span. After examining the effect of previous innovations on the field, the essay will finish by looking to the future to assess the possible implications of emerging technologies on journalism, and what this will do to the current model of media.
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