As we skim through the many advances that revolutionised the creation, dissemination and consumption of news, we reach yet another notable change: news platforms.
The use of the term ‘news platform’ is elaborated through four different perspectives (computational, political, figurative & architectural) by renowned communications professor, Tarleton Gillespe (in his published article “The politics of platforms”). However, all four analyses share the same political essence of being a democratic and egalitarian vessel for all news processes. The importance of this finding leads to the heart of this post where the idea of equality and accessibility reflects a new relationship between the media providers and audiences.
In this new relationship where reporting inducts user-participatory journalism into the mix, the empowered audience is enthused as a richer contribution to an information society. Yet, it is worthwhile to look into the disadvantages from this ’freedom of speech’. Here we will swiftly analyse this issue from a Public Relations perspective as the discipline itself deals with studying relationships through communication. For instance, with news platforms enacting open discursive communication and consumption, there is always a rhetoric risk of propaganda, manipulation and abuse. In effect, the aspiration for an information society could be tainted with hegemony and distrust.
This brings us to the question whether healthy relationships can be cultivated with too much power in the idea of news platforms empowering users. Controversy always looms with power; this one being the relationship of involvement of anyone with media platforms as a tool to create, report or provide ‘news’. As discussed, in an earlier post (Truth of news/news of truth), quality and legitimacy of news poses an extended issue.