Journalism – a process of investigation to report news, events and trends to a broad audience.
I’m a big fan of it and I believe that journalism is important. Without it, we would be devoid of what is happening around us or globally. However, with journalism, there is also an editorial process to sieve out unimportant news as well as to manage the tone of a particular news. The angle at how the news is being covered is also edited. This is done to be in line with the national agenda set out by the individual regulators of the individual country that the news is being published from.
Here, in Singapore, just like the rest of the world, journalism has taken on different shapes and forms to counter what was once the sole distributor of news. New Media platforms such as Twitter, Blogs, FaceBook have risen in recent years to contest against Traditional Media such as Radio, Television and Newspapers. Whilst such a phenomenon has been widely welcomed with open arms, there is also the issue of whether what is published via New Media is newsworthy or not.
And what exactly makes a particular news, newsworthy?
MediaCollege.Com sets out 5 criteria for consideration by an editor for newsworthiness:
- Prominence and
- Human Interest
Read more here.
Whilst readers can be assured that Traditional Media will continuously ensure newsworthiness albeit news being skewed towards the propaganda of the country because 1) it’s government owned, 2) there are covert officers assigned roles to ensure propaganda, 3) its’ editors are trained and have a significant amount of experience and 4) risk of losing publication license, we cannot speak the same of New Media although New Media offers exciting and absolutely different perspectives which more often than not, attempts to do the opposite of what Traditional Media publishes.
And with changing times, Traditional Media sources have also taken to New Media to have a wider and better reach to its now, dwindling audiences/readers. News under Traditional Media’s New Media publications are then less regulated, and so are the contents published, because it is no longer edited. Audiences/Readers have the opportunity to be journalists and editors themselves; to seek and publish news they find newsworthy and one such phenomenon in Singapore is STOMP.
Managed by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), STOMP offers what is termed as ‘Citizen Journalism’ which is defined as the concept of members of public “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information”. (Wikipedia, 2nd April 2012, Citizen Journalism)
With Citizen Journalism, the objectivity of how a particular news is being presented by the individual is subjective and more often than not, the news is also critiqued. Allowing audiences to participate openly and actively in disseminating news which are of concern to them, this raises a lot of criticism amongst the audiences themselves as well as professional journalists.
There have been numerous occasions whereby STOMP publishes news which are reported ahead of professional journalists. These news which offer a first person account as to what happened, especially in cases whereby life, death and property are of concern, have tremendously assisted news and security agencies in resolving such cases at breakneck speed.
However, there are also news published via STOMP which although, meets the 5 criteria mentioned above, have more often than not come across as being ‘kay poh’ and intrusive, rather than newsworthy. This is perhaps the angle that the individual has taken in publishing the particular news.
Whilst my initial intention was to perhaps raise a call to close STOMP down because much of it to me, in my opinion, publishes much of Yellow Journalism, a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers (Wikipedia, 2nd April 2012, Yellow Journalism), perhaps what what we need to do more, is to educate audiences on how to publish what they consider as newsworthy to ensure that it doesn’t come under Yellow Journalism aka Gutter Journalism.