With the current digital revolution, we have witnessed a progression from strictly print news as niche content, to radioed, televised and online news as a result of social media and online reporting websites. We are seeing a global shift in the “collection, processing and decimation” of news today, and it is this shift that has allowed for news to travel to such a global audience bringing international disputes which may have once gone unnoticed, to be publicly uncovered.
While news mediums across the world, and especially those in Australia are seeing a concentration of media ownership, the notion of their audiences as ‘passive consumers’ is slowly deteriorating leaving a “transparent media scape” behind. The ability to hold such corporations accountable for the stories they release is growing alongside the ability to detect biasness and imbalance; however, the choice of where these stories come from is rapidly declining.
In the journal article on ‘An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’ (Lee-Wright, P) it is established that “Al-Jazeera’s reputation in the region was won through its apparent freedom from proprietorial bias, and its willingness to engage in dialogue with its audience.” In a survey of trustworthiness from ‘Journal Practice’, figures of 59% trusted Al-Jazeera as a news source while only 12% for Channel 1 Egypt TV and 4% for Niles News. However, this pooling of information and footage was occasionally criticised for its “tendency to homogeneity”, losing focus on major demonstrations and letting politics cloud its coverage however, Al-Jazeera’s chief political analyst Marwan Bishara who explained how the mainstream news media “began to fixate on the role of social media, ignoring other social and political factors (that Al-Jazeera picked up on)… While important, there is no need to sensationalise the role social media played. Facebook won’t organise, people do. Twitter won’t govern, people will.” (Bishara 2012)
This interview with Wadah Khanfar, the former director general of the Al-Jazeera shows their attempts of balance and how they struggled as a majority media conglomerate to deliver an ethical story.
-Lee-Wright, P, ‘News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’, Jomec Journal (date of publication, volume and page number not stated)
Further food for thought: