Platforms = Relationships or Power?

As we skim through the many advances that revolutionised the creation, dissemination and consumption of news, we reach yet another notable change: news platforms.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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