Interpreting 24/7 journalism on new content and social media platforms: The online challenges and future directions of news and politics
The book so far has focused primarily on evening television news bulletins, examining their changing practices and conventions in light of the wider inﬂuence of 24/7 news media over recent decades. In this ﬁnal chapter the discussion will be broadened to include the value of new content and social media platforms, considering their journalistic merits and the role they play in 24-hour news culture. To help explain the arrival and increasing reliance on instant news and social media formats, the chapter begins by further broadening the scope of the book by examining the behaviour and lifestyles that shape people’s media consumption habits today. It then explores how the 24-hour cycle of news has impacted on the actions and behaviour of politicians, since roundthe-clock coverage puts pressure on elected representatives to react and respond in real time. The chapter thus examines the relationship 24/7 news has with society more broadly, considering people’s everyday lifestyles, their use of media and the changing culture of politics. To assess the journalistic value of instant news, information and social
media formats in recent years, the chapter will focus on Twitter and BuzzFeed. Both platforms – and many more besides, such as Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Dig, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat and Vine – represent, in diﬀerent ways, new methods of communicating information that challenge the one-way ﬂow of power traditionally held by the mass media of the twentieth century. How Twitter is used by politicians, journalists and citizens will be critically examined along with the opportunities – and challenges – opened up by its instant and interactive format. For no longer is news predominately produced by professionally trained journalists; anyone can publish information – and call it ‘news’ – on new content platforms. Thus, since the arrival of new online and social media platforms, citizens have had an unprecedented amount of information at their ﬁngertips. But in this blizzard of information produced by 24/7 instant formats, the chapter considers how the role of journalists should be understood and how news is communicated in an increasingly fragmented media culture. BuzzFeed, a content platform that splices together many
diﬀerent topics and features, represents a popular way many people now consume information, entertainment and news online. BuzzFeed’s journalism will be put under the spotlight, assessing its use of sources, packaging of content and delivery of news between media devices. The chapter asks overall – how should the ﬂow of online news on new content and social media platforms be interpreted? And considers, more broadly, to what extent do they strengthen or weaken democratic culture.