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Electronic media sparked a revolution in the 21st Century. The internet use became an explosive venture and the World Wide Web produced an avenue for multiple options for venturing into multimedia. All this took place so fast and soon there was a global newsfeed reaching millions through interactive media.
Television formats became innovative, websites turned to be interactive, and there came the emergence of handheld media digital devices. Currently, this rapid formation and the transformation of the landscape of digital news bring about a divide in the American community regarding the influences of digital news.
One group enjoys the coming of an enlightened future with an enrichment of the discourse of media production and presentation of news. At the same time, another section has concerns regarding the problems the advancements in technology such as national apathy and digital addiction. Neill Postman takes a particular view on television’s impact on journalism. Quayle agrees on some points with Postman but disagrees on others. Kelley writes rather informally about the effects of current technology on attention span in taking in news.
Addiction of digital media
Dr. Mark Kelley of the New England School of Communications is the director of journalism. Through his, “An apology to the 4G Generation” he issued an evidence filled warning regarding technology dependency.
He notes that the constant use of digital media leads to an addiction, which leaves people with an uncontrollable desire to use it as much as they may not be ready to accept (Kelley, 2012). The development of thoughts and sustenance of learning depends of focus. It is a skill relevant to the interpretation of news information, but according to Kelly, the digital media deny people from exercising that ability. Digital multitasking leads to deterioration of attention, and that is evident of addiction.
The increase of addiction to digital media reduces performance levels in school and at the workplace. At the same time, digital dependency robs people of their lives, and it is responsible to the strained relationships, increase in school dropouts and joblessness (Kelly, 2012). A serious problem leads to the development of treatment centers to help people suffering from technology dependency. This is contrary to the belief of the breakthrough believed to be the doing of digital media because it is enslaving people to its use.
The changes in news presentation
Kelly presents his account of Neil Postman’s book, Amusing Ourselves to Death – Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, where there is the prediction of the destruction technology would present to the society. He acknowledges the fact of technology robbing people of the power of reading and synthesizing information through personal attention.
That is what digital media is doing to the society presently. Postman foresaw the erosion of human intellect through the influences of technology. He was clear that, through technology, people would lose their attention of natural lives and analogously stimulation without any interest to seeking for information. He questions the formatting of news as much as it is seems to be a new discourse for the modern day America.
The worry presented is the contentment people have with the news formatting. He felt that there were remarkably few people seeing any peculiarity with its presentation with the turns of turning the process into more of a business venture than information provision. News is for brief passing on information and not straining of the attention listening by trying to stimulate them. Many people take information presented to them without any focus on the real implications (Postman, 1985).
Alternatives beyond digital media addiction
Quayle agrees to the concerns of Postman on the entertainment infiltration into news. However, he feels that, during the initial sessions of news presentations, limited channels made squeezing of news with other programs the only option and that limitation accounted for the briefness.
However, that has changed and there are multiple outlets leaving news presentation with the need for attracting specific audiences. Today’s news focus more on entertainment than information passing and that is cause for dissent to technology dependency and addiction.
That is the society in the current world with too much addiction to technology as put by Kelly because of the current upsurge of digital media. It is a position that is turning the identity of the society and transforming the discourse of education because people are incapable of using technology in moderation. Given the point at which situations have reached, creating sobriety in technology use will be an extremely tough struggle. It is one with multiple cases of withdrawal experienced in all other forms of addiction.
Maybe, after recovery as Matt Quayle puts it, people could see the advantages of digital media. He feels that there is an alternative to the amusement from technology (Quayle, 2010). According to him, the collection and consumption of news has faced so many changes with the availability of internet chat, hand held gadget, social media, emails and cell phones. This reason brings the need for a smart television presentation, which is not in the consideration of Postman.
He feels that the society has the opportunity for using these new technologies to access information, learn and develop as a new discourse to societal advancement. However, amidst all these optimistic regard for technology, Quayle recognizes the fast pace of technology evolution beyond the analytic capabilities of the society. He accepts that it is responsible for the possibilities of diminishing of public discourse (Quayle, 2010).
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Indeed, the community is at crossroads regarding the advancement of technology and the emergence of digital media. There are concerns regarding the enrichment and erosion of the constructs of the society because of dependency on new media.
With concerns of addiction and promotion of insight, the options are in the hands of the audience, though much research and sensitization is necessary to promote sobriety in the society. The projections of Postman regarding the damage technology have had on news, and modes of its presentation, is confirmation of when one focuses on the changes presented by the digital media.
At the same time, this is a position confirmed by Kelley when he relates the damages of digital media to a similar level of addiction caused by dependency in narcotics. It is a point of concern because it could lead to withdrawal and distraction of the discourses of education and community. This is because it is robbing viewers of their abilities for synthesizing information through attraction of too much attention.
This is a similar positioning of Quayle who agrees in part to the distractive nature of technology, though, he believes that there are alternatives, which people can explore to make a better use of technology. He feels that it is no longer time for amusement to death as presented by Postman but that people can make adequate use of digital media to advance and develop their lives without plunging into the sea of addictions.
Kelley, M. (2012). An Apology to the 4G Generation. Bangor Daily News, 13 May 2012. Retrieved From: https://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/13/opinion/an-apology-to-the-4g-generation/ 13 February 2013
Postman, N. (1985). Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the age of Show Business. New York: Viking Penguin Inc.
Quayle, M. (2010). The Method of the Medium is the Motion. ETC: A Review of General Semantics. Web.