digital revolution is improving journalism and communication
B y Augustine A
The Digital Revolution, known as the Third Industrial Revolution, is the change from analog, mechanical, and electronic technology to digital technology which began anywhere from the late 1950s to the late 1970s with the adoption and proliferation of digital computers and digital record keeping that continues to the present day. Journalism is the art of gathering, collecting, and dissemination of information through various mass, media platforms such as radios, televisions, print (news papers, tabloids, magazines, fliers, letters, etc) and also apparently through the new media( internet)
Communication is defined as the process of sending and receiving information as intended by the sender through a channel. This is further termed as effective communication.
Digital journalism also known as online journalism is a contemporary form of journalism where editorial content is distributed via the internet as opposed to publishing via print or broadcast. What constitutes ‘digital journalism’ is debated by scholars. However the primary product of journalism, which is news and features on current affairs, is presented solely or in combination as text, audio, video and some interactive forms, and disseminated through digital media platforms. It is of a aparamount significance to point out that the digital revolution has indeed had a profound impact of the journalism and communication of today, not only Uganda in particular but also the entire world.
The following are the ways the digital revolution is improving or has improved journalism and communication;
In the first place Digital journalism creates an opportunity for niche audiences, allowing people to have more options as to what to view and read. The interactivity and interface provided by technological tools such as Smartphones, laptops, computers, among others has made target audiences to embrace the revolution as a savior
Digital journalism allows for connection and discussion at levels that print does not offer on its own. People can comment on articles and start discussion boards to discuss articles. Before the Internet, spontaneous discussion between readers who had never met was impossible. The process of discussing a news item is a big portion of what makes for digital journalism. People add to the story and connect with other people who want to discuss the topic. Here a person is able to comment and share his or her opinion with the owner of the content, even like the content or even share the information/discussion with his/her friends
Digital journalism opens up new ways of storytelling; through the technical components of the new medium, digital journalists can provide a variety of media, such as audio, video, and digital photography. This is has been made possible through the various media platforms such as vimeo, sound cloud, dipity,flickr, projeqt, websites provided and created using wordpress.com among others
Digital journalism represents a revolution of how news is consumed by society. Online sources are able to provide quick, efficient, and accurate reporting of breaking news in a matter of seconds, providing society with a synopsis of events as they occur. Throughout the development of the event, journalists are able to feed online sources the information keeping readers up-to-date in mere seconds. The speed in which a story can be posted can affect the accuracy of the reporting in a way that doesn’t usually happen in print journalism or before the digital revolution. Before the emergence of digital revolution the printing process took much more time, allowing for the discovery and correction of errors.
It has enabled the journalists to be flexible and adjustable to the trending new technologies albeit new hardware or software. With such a help of the revolution, there has been gaps bridged especially hitherto existing gender gaps. For example in Uganda, the preponderance of women in the field such Agnes Nandutu, Faith Ariho, Doreen Komuhangi , etc can be attributed to the digital revolution that not only favors men but also women as well. Thus it doesn’t segregate or discriminate any gender. And this is a robust improvement as far as journalism and communication.
It has also promoted citizen journalism, where every concerned and interested individual regardless of the profession, status, etc can practice journalism. Since information is power, citizen journalism is an enabling activity to make sure all Ugandans are informed thus developing themselves. This is commonly practiced on social media platforms like face book and what sap where people update us on what’s happening around their environments say death occurrence, accident, party, etc
News consumers must become Web literate and use critical thinking to evaluate the credibility of sources. Because it is possible for anyone to write articles and post them on the Internet, the definition of journalism is changing. Because it is becoming increasingly simple for the average person to have an impact in the news world through tools like blogs and even comments on news stories on reputable news websites, it becomes increasingly difficult to sift through the massive amount of information coming in from the digital area of journalism.
There are great advantages with digital journalism and the new blogging evolution that people are becoming accustomed to, but there are disadvantages. For instance, people are used to what they already know and can’t always catch up quickly with the new technologies in the 21st century. The goals of print and digital journalism are the same, although different tools are needed to function.
The interaction between the writer and consumer is new, and this can be credited to digital journalism. There are many ways to get personal thoughts on the Web. There are some disadvantages to this, however, the main one being factual information. There is a pressing need for accuracy in digital journalism, and until they find a way to press accuracy, they will still face some criticism. Thus one can argue out that although the digital revolution has improved the journalism and communication of today through the provision of a variety of flat forms, enhancing speed in the spread of communications from place to another, vibrancy, remarkable interactivity, compatibility of information from different forms to other forms say for instance from mp3 to mp4, avi, Mpeg, etc, it has nonetheless promoted a lot of vices that are preying on the same profession of journalism .this among others includes plagiarism hence promoting laziness of journalists and communicators.
Secondly, journalists and communicators no longer have to brainstorm like before instead are spoon-fed by the internet. The internet is a son of the digital revolution. To this extent one wonders whether this is an improvement or a destruction of the profession. A situation where training is marred by copy-paste syndrome, then quality is doubtable. Thus with the help of digital revolution that offers opportunity for copy-paste, how can the trainees ensure quality yet the students use technologically advanced gadgets
The revolution has also been partly blamed for spoiling the culture since it has negatively impacted on the morals of the journalists and other communicators. Spread of pornographic content is the point in case. The media was awash with the nude pictures and sex tapes of celebs such as singer Desire Luzinda aka ‘kitone’ , socialite zari Hussein, even our own news anchor, Sanyu Robinah Mweruka. This exposes the extent to which the digital revolution has either improved but surely it has spoiled the profession and indeed unmasked how unethical practitioners are, today. It is important to point out the since good information can spread very fast using the opportunities provided by the revolution tools such WHATSAP ,YOU TUBE, among others, bad information that affects our morals can also find its way through the same platforms.
In conclusion, the digital revolution has had a fundamental change on the journalism and communication profession and practice, however, this seemingly interesting change is a double edged sword with opens eyes of positivity on one side but also sparkling side of negativity on the other hand. What got to be noted, however, it the sheer fact that it has improved how people communicate, enhancing speedy communications, provided a fertile atmosphere for the growth of citizen journalism, created vibrancy and made the field a better to be, but also on the other hand encouraged plagiarism vice, laziness, moral decadence just to mention but a few.