Will “news influencers” replace traditional media?

The Washington Post looks at “the millions of independent creators who are reshaping how people get their news, especially young viewers.”

News consumption reached a tipping point around the world during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, with more people turning to social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram than to websites run by traditional news outlets, according to the latest digital news report from the Digital News Report. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The report said that one in five adults under the age of 24 uses TikTok as a news source, an increase of five percentage points from last year. According to the British Communications Office, young people in the UK now spend more time watching TikTok than streaming TV. The shift has been driven in part by a desire for “more accessible, informal and entertaining formats of news, often delivered by influencers rather than journalists,” the Reuters Institute report says, adding that consumers are looking for news that “feels more relevant.” …”

While some national publications, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, have seen their digital audiences grow, allowing them to reach hundreds of thousands more readers than they did a decade ago, the economics of journalism have undergone a transformation. Popular media outlets have seen a decline in the amount of traffic flowing to them from social media sites, and some of the money that advertisers may have previously spent with them is now flowing to content creators. Even some media outlets that started life online have faced difficulties, with BuzzFeed News shutting down in April, Vice going bankrupt, and Gawker shutting down for a second time in February. This trend is likely to continue. “There are no reasonable reasons to expect that those born in the 2000s will suddenly prefer legacy websites, let alone broadcast and print, simply because they are growing up,” Reuters Institute Director Rasmus Claes Nielsen said in the report. Based on an online survey of nearly 94,000 adults in 46 national markets, including the U.S….

While many online news creators, like Al-Khatahtbeh, are trained journalists who gather new information, others are information aggregators and partisan commentators who sometimes masquerade as journalists. This shift has made the public sphere more “messy and contradictory,” said Jay Rosen, an assistant professor of journalism at New York University and author of the PressThink blog, adding that it has never been easier to be informed and misinformed about the world. Events. “The Internet allows for more content and access to all kinds of people,” Rosen said. “But it also leads to the spread of misinformation.”
“Some creators do not follow the same ethical guidelines that serve as guideposts in traditional newsrooms, especially creators seeking to build audiences based on outrage,” the article notes.

The article also notes that “the implications for society remain a focus.”

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