Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or two, then you’ll be aware of the intense debate swirling around the internet and whether it is a big, bad monster when it comes to reporting news.
The idea goes that because anyone and everyone can publish news without much in the way of regulation, ‘fake news’ is easy to spread and that can have an impact on our opinion of people, politics and perhaps even have swayed various elections around the world.
All of this forgets the largely positive impact that the internet has had on the world of news reporting and gathering. Here are three reasons why the internet is good for the news industry.
Online news sites make the news accessible to everyone
Before the advent of the internet, if you wanted to read about the news, you’d have to buy a newspaper to do so. Now, almost every newspaper has its own website with free-to-read stories, some newspapers have moved to online only editions and the internet has also allowed a far greater range of publications to spring up without relying on the traditional print media. That means you can find virtually any news story you want with a search engine and several clicks of a mouse. This is particularly helpful if you want to find out about a local news story but are thousands of miles away from where it occurred. Don’t live in Utah but want to read about the Meagan Grunwald case? Previously, you’d probably have had to find a way of getting hold of a local paper. Not so anymore – you can read about it from the other side of the world.
Video sharing and streaming sites means everyone can see events
Just as news sites have opened newspapers to a worldwide audience, so video sharing and streaming services have bought sound and pictures into home across the planet. YouTube’s numbers are barely comprehendible – 1,300,000,000 users with almost five billion videos watched every single day. Before, if you wanted to check out the footage of huge historical events such as the JFK assassination or 9/11, you’d have to wait for a documentary about those events to be broadcast on television. Now, it’s available to you anywhere in the world with an internet connection within seconds. Streaming services themselves are now bidding for live sports, meaning soon you’ll be able to watch your favorite team play directly through the internet.
Social media ensures news can spread fast
At the turn of the year, Twitter had 330 million monthly active users across the globe. In terms of how that effects the media, you can think of it as 330 million mini journalists, all ready to report on an incident or event the minute it happens. News from natural disasters, shootings and terrorist attacks can all reach the social media airwaves before the traditional news crews and reporters have even left the office. It speeds up the process through which the world becomes aware of a significant event taking place and keeps us far more up to date with developing stories than ever before.