With the plethora of media platforms available 24/7, it becomes hard knowing where to go and what to trust when searching for information on topical issues. Although legacy media may never go away, Australian audiences are steering towards other sources to find information about an array of topical issues.
Last year, the Reuter’s Institute conducted their 2016 Digital News Report which examines the ways in which people engage with all different forms of news. From the 50 000 people surveyed, the institute found that 51% of people use social media to access news. This result shows the changing behaviours of audiences globally; as consumers are becoming aware of the growing bias and #fakenews that surrounds legacy media platforms.
Furthermore, a staggering 39% of Australian’s say that they ‘think they can trust most of the news most of the time’; another example highlighting the shift in attitudes that we are seeing in audiences now.
Although there is this shift, audiences still utilise legacy media platforms such as print, radio, and television to access news. However, it is becoming outdated with this significant rise in audiences online presence, and awareness of the potential bias held by such media platforms. Such extensive bias comes from the media companies owner/s, as they control the filtration of news stories.
For example, Rupert Murdoch owns many different aspects and platforms of legacy media, (for example, 100% of Newscorp Australia, and 50% of Foxtel) thus, he has the power to filter what his companies produce.
Why is this important? Well, with Murdoch’s power, he and his team have the immense ability to control what you see and how truthful it is – gatekeeping. From hacking into the phones of royals, celebrities, and a young deceased girl, Murdoch has seen serious low points in order to curate a story.
Back to the rise of social media real quick though, 48% of Australian’s surveyed use Facebook as their source of news. Popular Facebook page ‘UniLad’ for example, often shares stories, videos, and images of contemporary issues that are sent in by their followers. Recently, they shared an article titled “Why We Shouldn’t Watch The Disturbing Footage From The Westminster Terror Attack”. The article shared why people need to stop sharing photos from the recent terror attack in London, as they were disturbing images of people’s loved ones. This issue contrasts with the paradigm of legacy media as it goes to show the difference in social and traditional media forms.
Social media allows people to share things actively and quickly, however there is no one to monitor what it is that is being shared, other than the audience itself. Whereas traditional media platforms rely on passive consumers who believe everything they read. With the use of gatekeeping as well, these platforms can control the flow of appropriate and offensive content much more efficiently…