Wardle’s Web Chat

A lecture given by Dr. Claire Wardle is a bit like social media itself; fast-paced, stimulating and interactive.

Last week at CJS’ Online & Mobile Journalism lecture, Dr. Wardle, who currently works with the BBC College of Journalism, spoke about the relationship between journalism and the internet. Wardle covered a variety of interesting points, but her main message remained constant throughout: journalism is changing, and although nobody knows where it’s going, it is an exciting time for the profession.

In the wake of the online revolution, it is becoming increasingly essential that all journalists (who have not already done so) evolve from dial-up-modem troglodyti to an all-twittering, all-blogging species in order to survive and be in command of the new journalistic world.

This world, which has gone from flat to ‘multiplatformed’, now allows people to digest, divulge and determine news in a quick and collaborative way. As a result, journalists are no longer the sole gatekeepers of the news, and civic journalism is on the rise as news is constantly updated by the general public (or what Jay Rosen calls ‘the people formerly known as the audience’).

Although, while Dr. Wardle put a fairly positive spin on transparency being the new objectivity, in light of recent reports on facebook and national cyber security it appears there can be such a thing as having Too Much Information online. The idea that Google Advance Search has the ability to bypass firewall, for example, is quite disturbing. So too is the fact that several sites (e.g. 123people.com, PIPL.com and 192.com) are probably already displaying your address, phone number and – perhaps more worringly – your Amazon Wish List.

But, paranoia about the Thought Police and government surveillance aside (although Dr. Wardle did mention that police are also using social media nowadays…) the range of tools and the wealth of information online is undoubtedly impressive, and quite inspiring.

Social networks, RSS-feeders and sites such as datagov.com, trendsmaps.com and informationisbeautiful.net are all useful resources. More importantly, they are symptomatic of the social-media bandwagon which each journalist must now jump aboard to keep up with the fleeting nature of modern-day journalism.

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