The advent of new technologies has enabled ordinary people to engage in online journalism on blogs and other platforms. Both professional and unprofessional journalists continue to experiment and explore how they can best use the native capabilities of the Web- in order to create new hybrid environments in which ordinary readers may become co-creators along with professional journalists, bringing feedback, inquiries, and experiences as an addition to the story threads that are launched by professional journalists.
Digital media news media includes online journalism, blogging, digital photojournalism, citizen journalism, and social media. Online journalism is transforming the nature of journalism and its ethics. Publishing now lies in the hands of the citizens as the internet continuously introduces new forms of interactive and immediate journalism.
Media evolution has created tension between traditional and online journalism. Online journalism is centered around the culture of immediacy, transparency, partiality, non-professional journalist, and post-publication correction, while the values of traditional journalism are more about the accuracy, pre-publication verification, balance, impartiality, and gate-keeping.
The implementation of Web2.0 technologies in online newspapers has resulted in an increase in user-generated content in online news which adds to the professionally generated journalistic content. User-generated content are sites that create content from the submission of users, rather than editors or writers like blogs (WordPress)or personal journals, photos, podcasts, vlogs(YouTube), reviews/advice, and forums. Commenting on the news is one of the most common ways of citizen participation online.
Online social networks developed after the implementation of Web2.0 technologies in 2004. A social network brings together its users on basis of various communication platforms. Universal social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram create virtual environments to encourage people to participate in different activities bound to the social network.
On Twitter, journalists have a tool that connects all personal Twitter accounts so that every moment information is updated, it immediately appears on it. However, every Twitter profile is personal, not professional which an issue is. Digital engagement with various publics through social network sites (SNS) such as Facebook or Twitter or social media sites such as blogs, microblogs, video-sharing, electronic forums, has become a new tool to build an active relationship between an organization and a specific public.
Challenges of online journalism include issues like lack of credibility; it’s not easy to make a distinction between a good and a bad news site. It can become manipulative and opinion-based. Ethical questions regarding privacy, accuracy, speed, copyright, and advertising arise.
Information is rapidly disseminated, with impacts via Facebook, YouTube, blogs, email, and Twitter. This rapid spread of information increases the pressure on journalists to publish news before checking its accuracy; frequently updating information can have a negative impact on the quality of the information produced, including accuracy, uncertainty in the choice of topic, or lack of context. Journalists become aware of the possible dangers of having no gatekeepers, editors, or fact-checkers to verify the information. The increasing number of media outlets has brought a change in newsroom culture in which newspapers of the ‘now’ are produced. The internet with its immediate information has turned the whole newsroom into a digital one
The reliability of online information does not only depend on the accuracy and truth of the content, but also on the views which the users attach to the professionalism of journalists and specific media outlets. Hence user feedback is essential. The job of online journalists is simply different from paper journalists. Online journalists have standards that include collaboration, transparency, and allowing readers to participate in the process. Anonymity is more accepted online than it is in mainstream news media. The codes of mainstream media warn journalists that people may use anonymity just to create false and unfair anonymous comments at other people. Online, anonymity is used as a way of allowing freedom of speech and sometimes it is used to assist in exposing wrongdoing.
Quite a number of media outlets have installed a comment moderation step to prevent unsuitable comments from users which could lead to legal problems. Comments from users should comply with the basic rules and they should not violate human rights. Online newsrooms increasingly demand transparency especially when it comes to producing information and opening the process to readers. Users can also assist with error correction especially in cases like when journalists comment on sporting events or political events as they unfold.
Online journalism is the future, almost every news organization has launched its online web pages and the number of web pages is rapidly increasing on a daily basis. We are gradually moving towards a mixed news media – a news media citizen and professional journalism across many media platforms.