Fake news has been popping up all over the place in recent years, spreading from websites specifically set up for the purpose of fake news, seeping onto our social media and causing chaos on what we can and can’t believe.
When scrolling through our Twitter or Facebook we will at some point come across a link to an article that someone has shared. If it links to the BBC, ITV, SKY or any of the general official news channels we can be almost 100 percent certain that the news is accurate and reliable, however fake news sites such as empirenews.net aim to trick readers into thinking the content they post is real.
This can appear harmless, until readers begin to form negative opinions of people based on facts presented in fake news, ruining reputations and in some cases having the ability to swing an election.
The US election was a prime example of this. With an abundance of fake news sites posting about the election and each candidate, those who viewed these articles would run the risk of having there views on each candidate swayed by the information in those articles. Bringing forward the question can fake news swing the outcome of an election by making the public biased towards a certain candidate?
Social media is dominating the news world. Stories are breaking on social media through tweets and videos taken on mobile phones by the public. As a journalist this has both its perks and fall downs.
With the public having such a useful tool, contact with journalists is easy, making the stories easier to find, the days of being out searching for a story are practically over with citizen journalism taking over and finding the stories for those in the news business.
For photojournalists however the ease of taking a photo off social media doesn’t make there job easier but in fact practically renders it redundant.
With the publics photos and videos being easy to access, and able to be used quickly in breaking news situations that need to be aired quickly, the need to wait around for pictures from photojournalists is simply no longer there. Bringing back the argument of speed vs. accuracy, or in this case, speed vs. quality.
The need for bigger news companies also seems to be fading slowly with user generated content popping up everywhere, the ability for anyone to create a blog, start producing videos and content across a wide range of genres.
In a new generation aspects of journalism can be found across the internet.
Russell Boyce is a photojournalist, having worked with a company called Reuters, an online website that provides photo packages of global events to be used in all areas of news be that print, online or broadcast, for over 20 years. Russell has worked in London as an international news photographer, a job that consists of travelling the world to take pictures of global events, and Asia as chief photographer. He describes this particular experience as “shaping the news coverage of a turbulent region”.
In London Russell Boyce was responsible for instructing and coordinating a rage of photographers based all over the world to produce the picture packages that the website Reuters that he works for offers. Both him and the company say that they aim to make these picture packages “tell an in-depth story behind breaking news”.
Despite companies and professional photographers working together to produce high quality packages, with breaking news requiring images quickly for release the up rise of smart phones and social media can essentially render photo journalists redundant at times. With members of the public able to take and send a photograph of an event directly and instantly to broadcast and online news companies, the speed of this can sometimes outweigh the need for quality that a company such as Reuters can provide.
Photo journalists however are essential for covering events in areas such as the Middle East and Africa where the use of social media and smart phones is practically none existent, being able to provide otherwise unseen images of events.
When speaking at London South Bank University Russell spoke of the ability to tell a story through a photograph, an element that news companies are willing to sacrifice the element of time for in order to uphold a story using a photograph, something that images from the public can usually not provide.
Over the past few months a petition has been launched for the removal of the mobile phone boxes located in front of Umana Yana, a local take away located on croxted road. Specializing in Guyanese and Caribbean food, the company although having a large base of regular and local customers, heavily relies on passers by for income.
The issue of the phone boxes has been raised multiple times by the restaurant due to them obstructing the view of the take away from the road for potential passers by and new customers. Southwark council despite owning the land outside of the restaurant where the virgin phone boxes are residing, have very little power to remove them due to them not owning the boxes themselves.
A petition for the removal by the council however has still been launched in the hope that it will create some impact and begin the process. The petition can be signed through the change. org website so far having reached just shy of the 1500 signatures goal since being created back in august, currently having just over 1450 signatures to date.
The use of analytics is taking over news rooms and dominating the content that we see. Particularly for online media sites such as the BBC and ITV news, the use of analytics has seen a significant rise. With an abundance of readers moving from print media as their dominant information source, to online news, the use of data that forms analytics helps filter and understand what type of stories readers respond to the most.
With every article we click on, be that through social media or a direct link to the webisite the company can monitor us. They know how long we viewed a video or article for, if we read the whole text, if we viewed it from a phone, desktop, laptop or tablet. Everything goes towards measuring the popularity and views on each story posted by a news company.
Main news stories and the placement of a story on each website, all comes from what us as viewers click on and enjoy to read, just because a story is important doesn’t always mean it will attract readers attention, more popular stories can be found and moved to the main story section of the page. Companies can meausure if short or long stories appeal more to readers and adjust the word count to increase the chance of an article going viral.
Social media also factors in with analytics showing what percentage of readers access the article via a link through social media. Producers of this content can then decide if an image or video linked to the article has any impact on the readers choice to click on it.
Social media is continually growing; with new apps and websites being developed and released on a daily basis, and existing ones continually undergoing updates to advance. During this, more and more people are joining social media sites, with Facebook now having a count of 1 billion users accessing the website or app every day, and Twitter with 134 million daily users.
Social media is now one of the fastest ways a person can access information and news, as and when it happens. Generally when following accounts and accessing websites we will only do so if they are relevant to our interests and views. Just as we would do when associating with people in every day life, outside the virtual society of twitter and Facebook.
The ease of finding content relevant to us, is now easier than ever, with information from past browsing history, being used as a tool for social media sites to suggest content and accounts we would most likely be interested in. Here is where an issue arises however, with filters aiming to provide ease when surfing social media but instead putting up barriers to content that may clash or disagree with what the user supports. We become accustomed to seeing one side of something, only being exposed to content that matches our own personal views, meaning we run the risk of a narrow-minded approach not just online but also in real life.
Political issues in particular seem to show this trend, with people only following accounts and pages relating to there own political views. Putting up a wall from them seeing the opposing views of different political parties.
Breaking out of the circle of these echo chambers and filter bubbles means having a greater understanding off all areas of every day life and discussion, be that political, philosophical or just general.