Journalism, the pressures of verification and notions of post-truth in civil society


Abstract


‘Post-truth’ was not a new concept when it was selected as the international word of the year (2016) by Oxford Dictionaries. In the context of communications research, scholars were discussing journalism in the ‘post-factual’ age some thirty years ago (Ettema 1987). In the digital era, journalistic practice itself has changed; stories are generated by a multiplicity of actors in a participative and interactive way. This paper contemplates the nature of journalists’ information practices in the 21st century and relates these to the roles of information and social media in civil society. The methodology draws on the findings of pilot research studies investigating journalists’ information practices in the digital realm (Martin 2014; 2015) and investigates the pressures of verification. The author posits that that we are ostensibly living in a ‘post-truth’ society largely due to the impact of changes in the news milieu in the digital age. With so many diverse voices in the mix, it is increasingly difficult for citizens to separate fact from fiction; journalists thus have a role as verifiers. It is crucial for information consumers (citizenry) to have the requisite skills and knowledge to critically evaluate media content and deal with information and communication overload.

Keywords


Digital journalism; News-story verification; Social Media; News reporting

Full Text:

PDF HTML

References


Aitamurto, T. 2016, ‘Crowdsourcing as a knowledge-search method in digital journalism’, Digital Journalism, vol.4, no. 2, pp. 280-297, .

Anzalone, C. 2017, ‘ “Awash in a sea of information and fake news”, Americans need to develop new literacy skills, UB’s information studies chair says.’ News Release. University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Accessed 28 March 2017, .

Blandford, A., and Attfield, S. 2010, ‘Interacting with information’, Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informatics (6), Morgan and Claypool, San Rafael, CA. .

Brandtzaeg, P.B., Lüders, M., Spangenberg, J., Rath-Wiggins, L. and Følstad, A. 2015, ‘Emerging journalistic verification practices concerning social media’, Journalism Practice vol. 10, no. 3, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2015.1020331.

Bryman, A. 2012, Social Research Methods, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Champagne, P. 2005, ‘The “double dependency”: The journalistic field between politics and markets’, in Benson, R. and Neveu, E. (eds.) Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field, Polity Press, Cambridge, pp. 48-63.

Cheney, D., Palsho, C., Cowan, C., and Zarndt, F. 2011, ‘The future of online newspapers’’ Proceedings of the Charleston Conference. http://dx.doi.org/10.5703/1288284314878

Couldry, N. 2004, ‘Media meta-capital: Extending the range of Bourdieu’s field theory’, in: Schwartz, D. and Zolberg, V. (eds.), After Bourdieu, Kluwer Academic, pp. 165-189.

Dervin, B. and Dewdney, P. 1986, ‘Neutral questioning: A new approach to the reference interview’, Reference Quarterly, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 506-513.

Domingo, D., and Le Cam, F. 2014, ‘Journalism in dispersion’, Digital Journalism, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 310-321, .

Ettema, J.S. 1987, ‘Journalism in the “Post-Factual Age”’, Critical Studies in Mass Communication, vol. 4, no.1, pp. 82-86.

García de Torres, E., and Hermida, A. 2017, ‘The social reporter in action’, Journalism Practice, vol. 11, nos. 2-3, pp. 177-194, .

Glaser, B.G. and Strauss, A.L. 1967, Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis, Sociology Press, Mill Valley.

Hermida, A. 2012, ‘Social journalism: Exploring how social media is shaping journalism’, in Siapera, E. and Veglis, A. (eds.) Handbook of Global Online Journalism, Somerset, NJ: John Wiley, pp. 309-328, .

Hjørland, B., and Albrechtsen, H. 1995, ‘Toward a new horizon in Information Science: Domain analysis’, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, vol. 46, no. 6, pp. 400-425.

Keane, J. 1999, ‘Public life in the era of communicative abundance’, Canadian Journal of Communication, vol. 24, no. 2, Accessed 25 March 2017, .

Keane, J. 2009, ‘Monitory democracy and media-saturated societies’, Griffith Review (24): 79-102, Accessed 25 March 2017, < https://griffithreview.com/articles/monitory-democracy-and-media-saturated-societies/>.

Kovach, B. 2006, ‘Toward a new journalism with verification’, Nieman Reports, Winter, 15 December, Accessed 27 March 2017, < http://niemanreports.org/articles/toward-a-new-journalism-with-verification/>.

Kovach, B., and Rosenstiel, T. 2010, Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload, Bloomsbury, New York.

Martin, N. 2014, ‘Information verification in the age of digital journalism’, Contributed Paper presented at the Special Libraries Association Annual Conference (Vancouver, B.C., June 8-10), < https://www.sla.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Information-Verification.pdf>.

Martin, N. 2015, ‘Participatory journalism: Blurred boundaries: Introducing theoretical IS frameworks to re-orient research practices’, in Allen, R., Hunter, J. and Zeng, M. (eds.) Digital Libraries: Providing Quality Digital Information, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (9469), pp. 190-196. Springer, .

Martin, N. 2016, ‘Information verification in the digital age: The news library perspective’, Synthesis Lectures on Emerging Trends in Librarianship, (4). Morgan and Claypool, San Rafael, CA. .

Nash, C. 2013, ‘Journalism as a research discipline’, Pacific Journalism Review, Vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 123-135.

Newman, N., Fletcher, R., Levy, D.A. and Nielsen, R.K. 2016, Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2016 (June 15, 2016), Accessed 17 May 2017, .

Nicholas, D., and Martin, H. 1997, ‘Assessing information needs: a case study of journalists’, Aslib Proceedings, vol. 49, no.2, pp. 43-52.

Ollier-Malaterre, A., Rothbard, N.P. and Berg, J. 2013, ‘When worlds collide in cyberspace: How boundary work in online social networks impacts professionals relationships’, Academy of Management Review, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 645-669. .

Olsson, M. 2013, ‘Gently to hear, kindly to judge: the affective information practices of theatre professionals and journalists’, Information Research, vol. 18, no. 3, Accessed 5 March 2017, .

Olsson, M. 2014, ‘Information practices in contemporary cosmopolitan civil society’, Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 79-93, .

Oxford University Press 2017, ‘Word of the year 2016 is …’ Accessed 4 March, 2017, .

Pak, C. 2017, ‘News companies link sharing on Twitter as informative advertising and content signaling’, Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA ’17, Denver, Colorado, 6-11 May, 2017, pp. 312-315, .

Pariser, E. 2011, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You, Penguin, New York.

Riordan, K. 2014, ‘News in the age of digital disruption’, Future Tense, Radio National, Sydney, 9 December 2014, Accessed 28 March 2017, .

Rosen, J. 2008, ‘Ethics of Linking: Jay Rosen’, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, 3 April 2008, Accessed 1 June, 2017, .

Sacco, V. and Bossio, D. 2017, ‘Don’t tweet this! How journalists and media organizations negotiate tensions emerging from the implementation of social media policy in newsrooms’, Digital Journalism, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 177-193, .

Sales, L. 2017, ‘New ACTU boss says it’s OK for workers to break “unjust laws”’ 7:30 Report, Sydney, 15 March 2017, Accessed 20 March 2017, .

Savolainen, R. 2007, ‘Information behaviour and information practice: Reviewing the “umbrella concepts” of information-seeking studies’, Library Quarterly, vol. 77, no. 2, pp. 109-132.

Serrano-Puche, J. 2017, ‘Developing healthy habits in media consumption: A proposal for dealing with information overload’, in Figueiredo Marques, R.P. and Lopes Batista, J.C. (eds.), Information and Communication Overload in the Digital Age, IGI Global, Hershey PA, pp. 202-222, .

Shapiro, I., Brin, C., Bédard-Brûlé, I. and Mychajlowycz, K. 2013, ‘Verification as a strategic ritual’, Journalism Practice, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 1-18, .

Steele, B. 2014, ‘Journalism ethics then and now’, in McBride, K. and Rosenstiel, T (eds.), The New Ethics of Journalism, CQ Press, Thousand Oaks.

Sukovic, S. 2017, Transliteracy in Complex Information Environments, Chandos, Cambridge, MA.

Sunstein, C.R. 2017, #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Talja, S., Tuominen, K. and Savolainen, R. 2005, ‘”Isms” in Information Science: constructivism, collectivism and constructionism’, Journal of Documentation, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 79-101.

Tandoc, E.C. and Ferrucci, P.R. 2017, ‘Giving in or giving up: What makes journalists use audience feedback in their news work?’ Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 68, pp. 149-156, .

Tuchman, G. 1978, ‘The Web of Facticity’, in Making News: A Study in the Construction in Reality, Free Press, New York, pp. 82-103.

Waller, L., Dreher, T. and McCallum, K. 2015, ‘The listening key: Unlocking the democratic potential of indigenous participatory media’, Media International Australia, no. 154, pp. 57-66, .

Watkins, J., Park. S., Blood, R.W., Deas, M., Dunne Breen, M., Fisher, C., Fuller, G., Lee, J.Y., Papandrea, F. and Ricketson, M. 2016, Digital News Report: Australia 2016, News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra. .

Williams, E. 2016, ‘Why trust matters’ in Reuters Digital News Report 2016 (June 15, 2016). Accessed 17 May 2017, .

Zeller, F. and Hermida, A. 2015, ‘When tradition meets immediacy and interaction: The integration of social media in journalists’ everyday practices’, About Journalism, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 106-119, Accessed 15 March 2017, .




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/ccs.v9i2.5476