With social media being ever more linked into every facet of our lives, the question arises what is ‘the media’? Is it still large organisations presenting news stories to us through news broadcasts and bulletins, or is it something much larger that encompasses every post and perspective on Twitter or Facebook?
First of all to answer this question we need to establish what the media is. Dictionary.com tells us that the media is anything “that [reaches] or [influences] people widely”.Secondly, does social media fit this criteria? According to mediaplussea.com social media is reaching and influencing everyone in an every increase capacity. Therefore since social media is reaching and influencing people it is a part of ‘the media’.
So in this new concept of ‘the media’ what changes? Social media allows for a democratised approach to media publishing, that is anyone can post anything and it can be accessed widely. This leads to massive amounts of media with varying opinions publicly accessible. Unfortunately one downside to this quantity of media is publishers can be focused on getting clicks on their articles rather than creating quality content.
This lack of focus on quality can cause publishers to not properly research facts about an article before publishing. This normally is with hopes to be the first to publish about a topic and trying maximise the potential readership.
For example in January this year footage emerged that implied their was animal abuse taking place on the set of the movie ‘A Dog’s purpose’. TMZ then titles an article “Terrified German Shepard forced into turbulent water” with toeclip embedded into the article.
When the clip was investigated it was found to an amalgamation of clips from seperate occasions, which created a false narrative that was disproven and the movie was shown to be in ethical and legal compliance. This shows that lack of journalistic diligence to check sources can be a huge issue in the current media climate. The entire ordeal is detailed at the start of the youtube video below:
This new issue of ‘fake news’ in the media is mostly new to our current media climate. But as previous media research has suggested the media audience is an active participant in the media, this is even more so amplified in the age of social media where we as ‘the audience’ become citizen journalists as we share and create media with our own perspectives attached. Due to this as ‘the audience’ with our much more active role in media it puts some of the onus on us to ensure we are not contributing to this new issue of ‘fake news’ in the media.