We explain what digital media and journalism is, what its history is like and its impact on society. Also, what are its characteristics and examples.
What is digital media and journalism?
Digital journalism, also called cyber journalism or online journalism, is a modality of journalistic practice whose main development environment is the Internet and whose auxiliary means are of a digital nature (multimedia). In other words, it is the branch of journalism that has evolved in the digital age and that uses cyberspace to investigate and produce its content.
This type of digital press encompasses all the previous aspects such as the written press, radio, television and other formats in a multimedia conglomerate sustained by the unique qualities of cyberspace. Thus, it is possible to browse news pages , listen to the radio, watch television or do all three through hyperlinks and multiple formats.
The digital press differs from blogs, social networks and other forms of communication available on the Internet (although it could use them), in that it operates according to journalistic methodologies (confirm the source, write objectively, etc.) and usually occupies space on web pages legitimized as reliable journalism.
The concept of digital journalism is being developed and transformed as the so-called cyberculture develops and becomes more complex. With more and more people using the Internet as their go-to medium for information , those in the know about what journalism is and how it works are changing on the fly to meet this massive demand for information.
Until now , digital media and journalism has been defined based on its tools , which are of a multiple type, as has been said before. But these requirements for immediacy, virality and attractiveness often lead to a rethinking of the ethical codes of journalism.
History of digital media and journalism
The dawn of digital journalism dates back to the 1990s, when the Internet made its entrance with force in the world’s workplaces and homes, and many large journalistic media , such as newspapers and television networks , opened their web portals to offer their readers additional material to that exhibited on paper or on TV. The first to do so was the American newspaper The Chicago Tribune using the America On Line (AOL) platform.
Already in the midst of the effervescence of web culture , new forms of journalism emerged that take advantage of digital platforms, such as citizen journalism, the result of the hybridization between the Internet and cell phones.
One of the distinctive features of digital journalism is its use of the various information formats available on the Internet : written text, video, audio, infographics and graphics, all coexist in the same liquid support, adapted to the needs.
Thus, news can be presented as the conjugation of text, audio, still images and audiovisual segments, which at the same time forms a new way of reading.
Another typical feature of digital media and journalism and the Internet in general is what is known as hypertext: the possibility of jumping from one text to another, from one content to another, putting together a network of relationships and readings that complement each other.
For example, a story about a specific region may contain links to other previous stories , necessary to understand the context, as well as to maps of the region, relevant photos or collateral explanations, allowing you to jump from one site to another as where you need more information.
Interactivity is the third fundamental feature of digital media journalism and it is the most innovative compared to previous media such as television and radio .
In these media, the viewer occupied a merely passive role, while the netizen chooses which news to watch and which not , chooses which videos to play and for how long, and manages their exposure time to the news as they wish. In addition, in many cases it is capable of replicating the news or expressing its opinion in the comments section of the readers.
Digital media journalism puts traditional information media in check through new, much more attractive models of meeting with your audience.
Digital media are cheaper, less perishable , broader in scope and more complex. This does not mean, for the moment, that it implies its extinction or replacement, but rather the coexistence between the traditional model and the new one.
In addition, digital media also have new limitations such as their possible oceanic sensation, of excess data , which often discourages the reader or prevents him from finding a specific piece of information.
Another is represented by its eventual lack of legitimacy , given that the new interactive format allows part of the information to be created by Internet users themselves.
Importance of digital media journalism
Digital media journalism, especially the one that takes into account social networks and personal information exchange mechanisms, has been an extremely innovative and challenging model for the global dynamics of information.
Digital newspapers, multimedia channels and other sources broadcast their information with little, unequal or sometimes no institutional regulation and commitment to an informative code of ethics.
This means that a new type of reader emerges, who is capable of discerning reliable sources from those that are not, and who builds their own codes of ethics for information management and must demand them from the digital journalist. All this requires a new 2.0 culture that is currently under construction, in which all the actors play an important role.
It is known as a digital newspaper or online newspaper both the “official” editions of journalistic and communicative institutions , as well as other unofficial forms of journalistic or pseudo-journalistic communication such as certain blogs, web pages, etc.
The online journalist
The new profile of the journalist, determined by the fast dynamics of the digital, points to the following essential characteristics:
- Knowledge of 2.0 tools for the administration and programming of social networks.
- Professional integration with the Internet and knowledge of the busiest times, the slang in vogue and other aspects of society 2.0.
- Ability to retrieve information from different media, not only written, and to develop them in turn in different written and visual formats.
- Minimal handling of photography, digital editing, audio recording, etc.
- Digital native with a taste for gadgets , communication technology and online culture .
Examples of digital media journalism
Some good examples of the capabilities of digital journalism and multimedia reporting are:
- The New York Times (USA). What happened in Ferguson? (in English)
- 20 minutes.es ( Spain ). 4 words about the Berlin wall (in Spanish)
- El Diario.es (Spain). The man who went blind from seeing too many things (in Spanish)
- The Country (Spain). The Gürtel case, which is indeed a PP case (in Spanish)
- Univision (USA). When life depends on a transplant (in Spanish)
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