Danielle has been an online writer for 5 years and is currently writing for sports website Goal.com.
Q: Being an online writer, how do you think the media audience online is changing?
A: I think the audience is much broader now. If you think of specific print publications, they all adhere to a certain demographic and target audience, however online you can reach a huge amount of various types of people. Also, referring back to print publications, people will only purchase them if they contain the content they’re looking for and you may argue that people will only choose certain websites to look at for that same reason, however, due to the accessible nature of the internet, people can browse a number of online publications with just a click of a button therefore reaching a larger audience. In addition to this, online publications can reach people on a global scale whereas print publications are confined to certain areas.
Moreover, online use is so common now and the majority of households around the world have access to the internet. Due to this huge expansion people are becoming more reliant on the internet for information. This is why I believe the print media will slowly die out.
Q: What technological advances are driving these changes?
A: I think just the general accessibility of the internet has encouraged these changes. It is so easy to get online and I’m sure there’s a statistic that’s calculated how many households have broadband etc. Also, the development of mobile phones I think is a huge contributor because it is common knowledge that most phones have access to the internet. Also, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are bringing more and more people online, especially the younger generation. Take Twitter for example, a number of journalists use Twitter as an outlet to release breaking news stories because it is instant and can therefore reach a huge audience.
Q: As a journalist, how does this impact you?
A: I think it’s a positive development, especially for freelance journalists as it gives us a huge range of possibilities in terms of getting work! It is very tough to get your foot in the door in this industry and when the only media outlets that existed were print publications, there were a limit of opportunities for budding journalists. However, I believe the emergence of online media has created more prospects for writers.
Q: In your opinion what ethical issues are raised from the emergence of the internet?
A: I think the dangerous thing about the internet is the somewhat lack of control there is as anyone can create a website or a blog etc so there are a number of ethical issues that are raised, especially since the technological advances move at such a fast pace. I think a huge ethical issue is defamation. Like I said, anybody can write their opinions online and because people have so much freedom on the internet it is easy to commit libel. For example, writing a defamatory statement about a colleague or your employer could be considered libel. However, the problem with the internet is where do you draw the line? And if it is written online in a discussion board or a blog, is it considered published? Despite the internet being of huge advantage to the media world in terms of the ability to reach out to a mass audience, I do believe the immense freedom people have online can cause more damage than intended.