Is journalism out of fashion? Is it relevant in the digital age?
Obscure groups in power want to keep our community in ignorance. Can journalism keep up with the digital age? Picture: Wellphoto / Adobe Stock

With the advent of the digital age and the rise of social media, questions have intensified about whether journalists and traditional media are still relevant. Many predicted that the internet would eliminate the need for journalists because these days, anyone with a smartphone is a potential reporter. Has journalism gone out of fashion?

News deserts and “ghost” newspapers

The advancement of communications technology and the popularity of social networks transformed the way we consume information. Mainstream media outlets were overwhelmed by these dizzying technology changes and were simultaneously hit by the Great Recession of 2008.

Hundreds of media outlets, including national and local newspapers, went out of business. This gave way to some social phenomena with unexpected consequences: the rise of so-called “news deserts;” which are places where there is no local media to look after the interests of the community, to hold the authorities accountable, or to cover community events.

Another trend emerged: numerous newspapers were forced to reduce their staff but have continued to operate as “ghost newspapers.” These media outlets retain their traditional name, but they no longer cover local events, and they fill their pages with press releases and information downloaded from the internet.

The golden age of misinformation

Given the limited presence of serious media on social media, false news began to spread excessively. Whether on social networks or on private networks such as WhatsApp, many people see false news that shocks them, and they automatically share it without verifying the source. This impacts us all.

Obscure groups in power want to keep our community in ignorance. For example, in the last presidential election, the Justice Department removed dozens of foreign propaganda sites aimed at Americans. Measures were taken against false news; however, Facebook and Twitter did not pay attention to an avalanche of misinformation that circulated through these networks in Spanish.

Is journalism relevant in the digital age?

Given the well-known shortcomings of social networks, despite attacks by authoritarian political groups, and in the face of an avalanche of disinformation, journalism is more relevant now than ever.

On October 8, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to two journalists, Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression; which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace,” said the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Ressa and Muratov received this iconic award for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia, where they denounced abuses of power.

“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” the Committee said.

Credibility is essential

Today, more than ever, it is vital for our democracy that we turn to serious and responsible media outlets to stay informed. At La Noticia, we work tirelessly to present you with proven facts and to maintain the highest industry standards; but don’t just take our word for it.

During the 2021 National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) Convention, which was held from October 6 to 8; La Noticia won the highest number of José Martí awards (33) among all Spanish-language print and digital media outlets in the country. In addition, La Noticia won the most awards for editorial content (25).

Fight misinformation and rely on La Noticia to help you stay up to date with what is happening in your community, the country, and the world.

Find this article in Spanish here.

Diego Barahona A.

Periodista, editor, asesor, y presentador. De 2016 a 2019 el periodista más galardonado en Estados Unidos por los Premios José Martí. Autor del best seller: ¿Cómo leer a las personas? dbarahona@lanoticia.com

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