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Critical Approaches to Journalism Essay

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Updated: May 20th, 2020


Morgan’s article on “Screens vs. Paper” in media underscores the role of technology in contemporary journalism. A clear indicator of advanced technology in media is the decision by publishing houses to allocate more resources to the establishment of digital media at the expense of for example, newspaper. A majority of the population is computer literate and for this reason, prefers getting information through colorful screens and not reading through the monotonous hard copies.

With this in mind, the publishing industry has identified a potential and feasible business opportunity. As a result, a considerable proportion of publishers are considering exploiting this business opportunity by providing digital editions. However, this does not mean that print consumers will be entirely eliminated from the market because in the end, a market segment for attractive and well produced magazines will be established.

Advertising is one of the sectors in journalism that has tremendously changed due to the impact of technology. Digital editions on e-readers have the ability to offer a more immersive experience for readers compared to print banners which readers easily ignore. Although technology is relatively expensive, most publishers are more than willing to incorporate it into journalism for purposes of innovation, thereby catering for the needs of its readers.

In his article, “Who needs journalism?” Calcutt asserts that magazines are lively in the sense that they are mirrors that reflect its readers, publishers and writers. He further argues that traditional journalism expects its practitioners to give information that follows the formula of who, where, when, how and why. They are expected to make use of active verbs. To journalists, sentences with such format are a typical example of traditional news writing whereby they (journalists) are expected to comply with these standards.

Calcutt also notes that in traditional journalism, a writer is oriented towards a prudent event in the sense that the event is singled out and given prominence over other events. Therefore, a reporter’s main ambition is geared towards writing a definite account of such an event, giving vivid details. As a result, when the reader goes through the article, he or she will be able to perceive the incident as if he or she witnessed the action. Readers pay for the coverage of the story on the publication when they buy the copy.

With regard to modern journalism, Calcutt offers three distinct groups involved in the event. These include actors who performs events to be written about, the writers who compose the reading material and the colleagues who do the publication work, and finally the readers who read about what the actors did in a particular event.

In traditional journalism, these three groups are distinct and therefore work in isolation from each another. In contemporary magazines however, this may not be the case. The tendency for these distinctions to dissolve is very high.

New media technology has facilitated the development of user- generated content. As a result of this readers can participate in the process of making the events to be featured in the magazines. The end result is that readers and writers become one and the same thing.

In an effort to address such developments, publishers are devising a new model for magazines which encompass content, community, and cash. The three components are bound together with the word brand. However, it is not clear whether such a model is worth implementing. Similarly, it is not clear in whose favor it will work out for.

Both Morgan and Calcutt address the issue of advancements in journalism in relationship to technological advances. Morgan is more inclined towards the form that journalism will take. Basing on research, she argues that most publishers are likely to embrace the e-reader version.

In addition, she stresses on the point that though at a slow pace, the screens are taking dominance over papers in media industry. She also argues that most publishers are willing to embrace the new technology considering the financial returns associated with incorporation of the technology.

On the other hand, Calcutt takes argues that as much as technology is involved, it should make magazines livelier. This is in the sense that the reader participate in the making of the events written. His major arguments entail both the format and the content of magazines which will be shaped with the aid of the new technology. He sees the need to innovate the magazine unlike Morgan who perceives an inclination towards screens as a mode of journalistic communication.

The two writers take a different approach for various reasons. Being a publisher, it is possible to argue that Morgan’s article is money oriented since her main concern for publishing is on how to make money. When she talks of paper verses screen, it is because she is inclined towards the form and not the content of the information to be passed across to the reader.

In contrast, Calcutt emphasizes on content for the reason that his main precedence is on sealing the gap between the ‘actor’, writer and the reader. This is done through involving the reader in the making of events to be written about. As a result, the magazine acts as a mirror giving a reflection of actor, reader and writer who contribute in the making and completion of the publications.

Continuous diffusion of the internet has culminated into a change with regard to media-consumption patterns. There is a broad optimism concerning democratic involvement and active citizenship in the course of online media.

Bowman and Willis (2003, p. 2) and Dan Gillmor (2004) illustrate how, on the Internet the people themselves have become the media. Unlike in the traditional media where blogs as well as other community-driven media are characterized by a basic convergence of the roles of content of producers and consumers since every user has the occasion to both consume and generate content.

The fate of Journalism

The saying that today’s news meaning the newspaper is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper is satirical. This is because what has been a reliable source of news all over the world for a very long time is being overtaken by technology. This is because in the contemporary world, people are accessing news from an infinite range of sources varying from radio to RSS, blogs, online news sites, and social media to e-mail.

The concern of most journalists is that today’s printed news will probably wrap fish and chips tonight. This in turn expresses very negative attitude towards journalism since the news which are worked on tirelessly for the whole night end up being to nothing within a short time.

As a result, many people consider print journalism to be on its knees. In addition, few people read news provided in the form of actual paper. News practitioners may perhaps face criticism about journalist practices in current years. Research indicates that only a couple of people read newspapers whereas millions see the print work (Silvers, Kate 2010).

Due to rapid and disruptive technological changes, journalism is struggling to deal with the blend of a fall down in advertising. This was not the case in 1970. More changes came with print media in the early 20th century otherwise called the creation of the BBC along with the establishment of its ideology of editorial independence.

There has been an immense disintegration of news suppliers amid the traditional media outlets and the new digital species. Most of them are specialist in news that one can use to solicit funds, blogs, Twitter, et cetera. However, although a number of news broadcasting firms could be at moment be faced with harsh economic conditions in an otherwise cutthroat industry, it is also important to note that there has been an increase in the number of journalists as well as the stories that they publish.

When a captivating event or story takes off on the internet, as they have done so many times in high opinion of the recognition crunch over the precedent couple of years, it is an enormous global explosion. In this case, it is important to appreciate the role of technology in journalism following the passing on of Michael Jackson. Within a matter of minutes, such blogs as TMZ had already revealed this sad news on their website.

This also happened when Telegraph’s website became the most important source on the major political story of the year, the discovery about MPs’ exploitation of their expenses. There is the need to appreciate the fact that today, twitter, social networking sites and blogs and very popular in comparison with say, local newspapers, tabloids and the television.

In February 2010, a survey was undertaken in the UK to find out the source of news for the populace regarding the economy. The result indicated that eighty four percent still go round back to the television first compared to fifty three percent who use the internet. This was different from the fifty two percent who turn to a newspaper.

The result also showed that thirty seven percent listen to the radio. Amongst the youth, nearly 61 percent of the respondents revealed that the internet is their first choice as a source of news. In this case, it is only the television that had a higher number of followers, at 74 percent. The implication then is that there has been a paradigm shift among the youth people regarding where they get news.

In this case, audio and video have overtaken the written word (Gillmor Dan 2004). On the other hand, it is also important to note that contemporary journalism does not provide a succinct distinction of the available rules for use in governing companies in the radio, newsprint and television industries. More so, the relevance of rules is no longer applicable due to technological advancement.

For instance, it is still not very clear if at all an industrial logic exists to prevent a potential merger of say, a national newspaper with a franchise news channel that enjoys a market share of 20 percent or more. The rules that promote variety, choice and competition, also tend to be preventing a much of the required rationalization of the way in which the news is provided. There should be balance in digital technique of delivery or allotment, whether in video, audio, or written information.

What really matters in journalism is embedded in the appropriate means of gathering information, reliability of the sources as well as the means of investigation. Newspapers are really struggling to make ends meet online. This is not a guarantee in giving news and information away but to sell it even if it sales at the lowest amount.

It is important to appreciate the fact that thus far, the internet has provided b oth opportunities and challenges to member of the fourth estate in as far as the undertaking of their respective job-related functions are concerned. For instance,

Google works directly with publishers so as to find business solutions. In turn, journalism can be able to thrive online. This brings about an optimistic future for the news industry. Journalism is moving all the way through an important shift in which business models are breaking down and at the same time innovative new forms of journalism are emerging. As a result, new consumer habits are changing quickly.

Journalists, newspaper publishers and editors, creators of new online news organizations, economists, lawyers, academics, and others have contributed their time and proficiency to illustrate and analyze this changeover, thus providing the foundation for many online documents. Many have already prepared conferences and written information that skillfully aggregate and assess the enormous majority of the significant information (Gillmor Dan 2004).

With this kind of knowledge, it is still inappropriate to conclude that the printed newspaper is already facing extinction. Studies have made known that newspapers characteristically provide the leading quantity of original news and information to consumers over any given phase of time.

There is need to include within the term “newspapers” online news websites managed either by an accessible newspaper or by an online-only news association. Other sources of news are also important, certainly, and proposals for action should not support newspapers over other news platforms. It is ironical how they can be news today then wrap fish n chips tomorrow.

The technological advancement which has led to the use of the internet as a means to pass on news and events not only posses a great challenge to the status quo of journalism at large, but also promises a thrilling new way of learning about the world. In this case, we are exposed to the views of stakeholders regarding the participation of an audience in journalism as a profession.

In this case, the internet poses a real threat to the status quo that various news businesses all over the world have thus far enjoyed. Kovach and Rosentiel (2001) have provided a persuasive case in their book, The Elements of Journalism, about the momentous transition that news businesses have been exposed to as a result of the advent of the internet.

There is need to understand the internet is not pushing away the use of newspaper as it is viewed by many people. Instead, what appears to be happening is that the establishment of a novel media ecosystem is in progress. In this case, online communities are out to both extend and converse the stories that their counterparts in mainstream media produces.

Moreover, these online communities also promote as well as produce reporting from the grassroots. This is in addition to annotative reporting, commentary, participatory, participatory journalism and fact-checking, among other activities. These activities are a representation of the feeder material to which the mainstream media religiously subscribes to.

It is clear that weblogs are not in competition with the work of the specialized journalism establishment, but rather complementing it.


Journalism has gone through a lot of changes most of which are technologically influenced. This is evidenced from traditional newspaper production to contemporary posting of news and information on the web. In addition, journalist have moved from the age of perceiving readers as mere and passive because technology has made it possible for readers to be part of news making.

As a result, the interest to read grows since the reader is actively involved. There are also innovations in the advertisement industry where the targeted audience receives the information in advanced and faster ways. More so, publishers are able to liaise with their consumers and make known to them available publications.

Reference List

Ash, E., Hettinga, K., & Halpern, D., 2008. Effects of a trend: The influence of user comments on readers’ perceptions of online newspapers. Web.

Bowman, S. & Willis, C., 2003. . Web.

Calcutt, A., 2005. ‘Why Magazines Lead the Journalism of Low Expectations’, Maglab. Web.

Gillmor, D., 2004, . [E-book]. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media Inc. Web.

Jay, L., 2007. The Fate of Journalism: The End to Newspapers and the Rise of the Internet? Business Finance. Web.

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T., 2001. The Elements of Journalism. [E-book]. New York: Three Rivers Press. Web.

Morgan, C., 2010. ‘Screens vs paper: the future for magazines?’ Penmaen Media, May. Web.

Peston, R., 2009. What future for media and journalism? Web.

ProQuest. Conversing with the community: social media strategies. Web.

Silvers, K., 2010. Today’s news – tonight’s fish and chip paper? Web.

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