New journalistic perspectives

The role of informer has always been assigned to journalists and the press. However, in the digital age, the journalist is no longer the only one to tell the world and what is happening there, he has to face a major crisis in his history and has definitely lost the monopoly of the « information ».

The new journalists
The time during which the reading of the newspaper was the « the realist’s morning prayer » – as Hegel said – is past. Today the social web has opened the way to a new type of journalism, citizen journalism. It has allowed simple surfers to express themselves and influence information, and even to be the main source. As it was the case during the emergency landing of the 1549 aircraft on the Hudson River in New York in 2009, for example.

The shift initiated by Snapchat is a perfect illustration of the concept of citizen journalism. The Snapchat application – and now the social network Instagram – now allow users to create 24-hour stories, during which they can feed, comment and share by their snaps an event. This practice, called the user generated content, makes it possible to divert the stories of Snapchat in order to make it a citizen reportage. For example, videographer Casey Neistat created his own reportage during the Ferguson riots. However this new trend also showed these limits during the Nice terrorist attacks. The application then created a « Nice: Info » story on which it broadcast the snaps of the users at the scene of the attack. Considered shocking in such a context, this initiative was strongly criticized.

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A renewal in journalism
The Social Web has given considerable weight to our tweets, Facebook posts and other publications. Nevertheless, although Internet users have become a source of information in their own right, they have also disrupted the mechanics of the journalism profession. All of these tweets, posts and publications are a real goldmine for journalists, who now have access to new sources, but can also more easily collect the feelings and opinions of citizens about an event or a subject political, cultural, etc. It is not uncommon today to find articles emerging from very serious newspapers illustrated by Internet tweets.

This mutation of journalism has, on the one hand, revolutionized information and liquefied more the spatiotemporal barriers, allowing us to follow a subject several thousand kilometers, but on the other hand it also raises new issues regarding the profusion of information and their veracity.

Akhéane Vaucelles

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