Digital Metamorphosis

An article from Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism analyzes a survey conducted on an online website, YouGov “of over 18,000 online news consumers in the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Denmark, and Finland.” The data provides an interesting trend in the news media, as it grows increasingly digital.

The report details Facebook and Twitter’s prevalence as a new source of information (twitter less so in Europe).  The reports remarks a spike in mobile devices being the primary source of news for a fifth of the population polled. And over a third, use a least “two digital devices each week for news.” I believe this report sheds heavy light on two distinct characteristics of a potentially bigger problem. A) The demographic. The countries polled are some of the wealthiest and prosperous in the world today. Now combined with B) social media, and it’s silent coup as it overthrows alternative news sources as a major player. As social media delivers news based on personalized algorithms, the efficacy of news, and its purport as relevant data loses its potency as news is instead force fed. I fear this could localize information, producing gaps in coverage as news travels over land and sea. An algorithm, built to tailor news to ones interests, could nullify less “convenient” but equally important information.

However Facebook, as an example, lists in their news feed FAQ page, the influence of one’s activities based off of likes, friends, interests, etc. They provide tools in the settings to alter the filter in order to tailor one’s incumbent preferences, rather than digitally inferred. The digital shift in media could simply mean the responsibility of the population to actively mold their news preferences, in order to avert popularized homogenous factoid news like “10 ways to know you’re in love.”

sources:

https://www.facebook.com/help/327131014036297/

http://www.digitalnewsreport.org/survey/2014/executive-summary-and-key-findings-2014/

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