If there is one thing I have taken away from grad school at the University of Oklahoma, it is that we are encountering major changes in the flow of information and how it is disseminated to the public.
Not too long ago, journalism was dominated by few media companies. The audiences were large and homogeneous. Today, media companies are plentiful, and the audiences are fragmented and homogenous. What does the mean for journalism and for society (If I had the answer, I wouldn’t be blogging)?
But I do have some theories. We are entering an era of subjectivity; An era defined by the “me.” This sounds selfish at first, but maybe it sounds so because of your perspective. This era is defined by a collection of “me’s,” meaning that news can no longer focus on heterogeneous demographic characteristics. News is beginning to report on a multitude of viewpoints. Traditional news remains stagnant in “the movement”, but smaller sites are hitting the ground running.
A lot of these smaller sites are borrowing headlines from other, focused news sites, creating a product from the viewpoint of hundreds of “me’s.” Journalism is becoming more scientific because of this. In science, the truth can never be understood because we are flawed beings, but through evidence, different perspectives (i.e., qualitative and quantitative observations and analysis), and a knack for an open-mind, we can get a better understanding of what that truth may be.
In today’s environment, we are beginning to see just how complex and various people’s cultures, beliefs, and values are. Just look at the news, websites, and apps each person consumes. No two people share the same interests, but our interests do overlap. This should help us to understand that arguing and fighting will not get us anywhere. We are all different. But understanding and empathy can give us a closer glimpse of truth: reality.