Human beings have always had an innate desire to have their opinions heard. Since the invention of the Internet and the evolution of more accessible media this is easier than ever. Contrary to speculation this is not endangering traditional media, in many cases this is quite the opposite. In order for the traditional media to grow it must embrace technological advances and people’s desire to play a larger part in the exchange and provision of information. The two can coexist and even facilitate the other.
Martin Luther had to nail his 95 theses to the Wittenberg Cathedral door in order to voice his opinion. That was his blog, the impact of which is evident to this day. Modern bloggers needn’t take such an extreme approach; all they need to do is register.
Blogging is seen as a hobby rather than a career or life choice, which is why traditional and modern media are not in direct competition. Modern media is both accessible and unreachable for the same reason. Because anyone can have a blog it puts bloggers in direct competition with each other rather than modern media. Just because it can be seen worldwide, doesn’t mean it will be.
Full time journalists spend their days chasing down stories and interviewing people and have access to greater levels on information than bloggers. Most bloggers would not have the time or the means to investigate stories to such a degree and so the majority take a story that has already been covered in the media and offer a new angle and point of view on the topic.
One area however where online media has affected traditional media is that it allows people to post videos. Video hosting sites such as YouTube, Google Video and Vidlife have become a phenomenon among Internet users. These sites can be used for people to post their opinions but also to watch music videos and tv shows which is what makes them so popular. Some “viral” videos so called because of their infectious popularity have created overnight stars out of ordinary people.
While this form of media can never replace traditional news media it draws young people to the internet and shows them the benefits of modern media over traditional. This mass spreading of ideas, such as with blogs, poses the same problem for users who hope to get their videos noticed. Online journalist Ben Croshaw whose blogging website fullyramblomatic.com has become a favourite among video game users stated that “releasing videos on YouTube is kind of like throwing messages in bottles out into a churning sea of messages in bottles”. When a video is posted online it can be seen by all over the world but it doesn’t guarantee it well be.
There is a certain amount of trust placed in traditional media by the public. News that is printed or broadcast may not always be completely accurate and can at times be influenced by spin and PR. It is felt however that because the media consumer can put a name or face to the person presenting it someone is accountable for what is being reported. Most journalists working in the Irish media have training or years of experience. There is no training necessary to write a blog or post videos online.
The Internet is virtually lawless meaning that a person could write about anything they want on their blog. The Internet can facilitate the spreading of bigoted views and because a blog can be kept anonymous the writers never have to answer for themselves. This lawlessness is a mixed blessing however. While it means the Internet can be used to spread hate it gives people the feeling that they can write freely about an issue.
Bloggers and journalists can both survive. There will always be a demand for newspapers and news broadcasts as they are far more easily accessible to the public. Not everyone can access the internet but most people have television. Many people prefer newspapers because they are more portable. Bloggers can take inspiration for posts from the mainstream media. As long as modern media is popular those who produce traditional national media will be kept on their toes. This will improve the quality of news in Ireland.