Social Media – A Risky Bridge for News Feeds

Bret Barnum, Devonte HartWhile reading Jonathan Jones’ post on Ferguson riots, I was shocked to see the worsening situation of journalism across the world. In his post, Jon has said that publishing a picture with a white cop hugging a black guy in Ferguson streets is a blatant cover up of the wounded state of American society. Considerably, the grand jury has denied filing a case against the cop who fired at black guy. It has sparked off the large scale debate across America over the issue of divide in black and white. In such a moment, a white cop hugging black guy gets shared for 4 million times. It is being posed as greatest symbol of human reconciliation. It says that despite all the odds a simple hug can defy the nation shaking debate over racial debate. It is a blatant lie. The camera has the opportunity to show what suits to the story. The journalist has clearly stated that the use of an appropriate image helps the story teller in making the story convincing. However, The deliberate use of appropriate pictures to form a certain news story creates propaganda. The propaganda journalism is not new. Jon has said in his article that dishonest manipulation of pictures was the specialty of state propagandist since 1930 to 1940.

But things are quite different in this age of social media freedom. Today the readers aka users aka consumers can enjoy the freedom of seeing what we like to see, reading what we like to read and share what appeals to them. The social media value of news stories ascertains which story will be followed and which will be not. For example, if a certain news story on Catalan self-determination referendum, 2014, doesn’t get the due love from online readers then the story might not be able to get typed again by the news site’s resource. It’s a depressing problem of social media powered news portals that mass communication portals are bound to shout what users want to listen. In such cases, the editorial control remains limited to assess the shareability and salability of the news stuff.

So as Jon has said when a certain news story, a picture or an audio-visual gets maximum love from online users aka consumers, that stuff is salable, therefore popular, therefore true.



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