Image watching the news back in the 1970s. Imagine how difficult it would’ve been to receive the full story, fast, when we were all so disconnected from each other around the world. I can imagine how the only stories that were covered in-depth with on-scene footage and first-hand interviews would’ve been the stories that happened within a close proximity to the television station. The only opinion or perspective you would see would be that of the news editor and the only footage we would see would be that captured by the designated cameraman. Now fast-forward to today and think about the type of news broadcasts we see everyday. Just within one single news story we may hear from 4 different perspectives, we would get the opinions of people all around the world, we would see a minimum of 2 different camera shots of the one scene and we would most likely have some form of viewer-submission in there too. Just within one minute. Now combine this with the breaking news exposure we receive as a result of social media and it is overwhelming to think about how much more we learn than the news-watchers 40 years ago.
One phenomenon that has surfaced as a direct result of technological advances is citizen journalism. The concept of citizen journalism is based upon public citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information.” Any ordinary person can pull out their smart phone in the street and film the breaking news that is happening before them and then share it to the world through social media. This has obviously led to a huge influx in the perspectives and opinions we see surrounding a particular story and we are at high risk of receiving incorrect or ill-informed information. However this is where the concept of bridges made of pebbles comes into importance. Yes, one pebble (social media post) will not have the strength to act as a bridge and tell a complete story, but when you have thousands of pebbles all in the one place (social media platform) it is clear which pebbles are repeated and can build a bridge that holds the entire weight of a story.
The meme above explores how anyone can be a citizen journalist and how technology has changed traditional news media forever.