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Online Journalism and the New Media; Implications for Man's Social Development

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INTRODUCTION

The new media announces a new period of media development in the world over, it is the one that preaches the significance of new communications technologies. The new media is not just a kind of information technology but also part and parcel of the social being of man in this modern society.

At the threshold of this fairly new millennium (2000 A.D.), there was a sporadic turn-around in the existing branches of the global media. This catapulted the world into a new information order that forcefully attempted to erode the conventional media. This turn-around made the traditional mediaÐŽ¦s dictators and gatekeepers to loose their hold. The sub ÐŽV editors, and editors who control what comes into the news, and by implication, what the people are being exposed to, could no longer reserve the right. This is because the coming of the new media has brought with it another means of exposing people to media information without necessary passing such information through the control of the editors; thereby creating a world in which men could access the material of his choice, when he wanted it, and no longer at the mercy of the gatekeepers.

Through the Internet ÐŽV induced worldwide web (www), media information are provided in total detail. The Internet has provided a large amount of news items that people can have access to freely.

This internet-induced journalism, vis-a- vis; online journalism is the concern of this paper. The paper sees online journalism as a product of the new media and seeks to point out the implications of this latest communication trend on the social lives of man in this contemporary society. Specifically, the paper elucidates on Internet addiction and proliferation of illegitimate journalism as part of the implications of the new media. The paper is structured into the following subheads for easy understanding:

Ñ"ж Introduction

Ñ"ж Contextual definition of key concepts to wit;

„« Online journalism

„« New media

„« Internet addiction

Ñ"ж Theoretical perspectives

Ñ"ж The new and the old media

Ñ"ж Effects of the new media

Ñ"ж Social implications of online journalism

„« Addictive

„« Illegitimate

Ñ"ж Conclusion and Recommendation

CONTEXTUAL DEFINITION OF KEY CONCEPTS

Online Journalism

Simply put, online journalism is practicing journalism on the Internet. Online journalism, which could also be referred to as cyber journalism has proved that big media organizations no longer have a monopoly on news. ÐŽ§Anybody with a computer and a connection to the Internet can set up a website and call herself or himself an (online) journalistЎЁ Dominick 2003: 336. Online journalism has greatly constituted a threat to the conventional media as it is fast taking over the global media scenario.

NEW MEDIA

New media is the general term given to the constantly changing way in which entertainment and information is being delivered to consumers. In many ways, it is a moving target but, at present, it encompasses the internet, WAP phones, digital television and set top boxes, as opposed to our traditional means of communicating like newspapers, analogue television, books and analogue radio (sometimes known as the old media). In recent years, the emergence of e-mail and the Internet in the home as well as at work means that new media has come to play an ever- increasing part in our lives. One of the more respected practitioners in the business has described it as everything that isnÐŽ¦t old media. It includes the digital developments and interactive television. Anywhere the user has control over the content and it is delivered in digital format. Hollingsworth 2003: 35. For the purpose of this paper, online journalism and the new media will be used interchangeably.

INTERNET ADDICTION

Internet addiction is a condition of many psychologists describe as the detachment of people from other people by virtue of their use of Internet. Internet addiction results from a situation where people spend lots of time engaging in sending e-mail, instant messages, online chatting, game playing, online shopping, and maybe even cyber sex. Early studies of Internet users revealed that those who spend many hours online also show signs of isolation and depression. Dominick 2005: 312

THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE

To best understand the thematic preoccupation of this work, the concept of critical mass theory as it applies to the adoption of a new communication technology is desirable and would be used. The term comes from physics, where critical mass refers to the minimum amount of material needed to trigger and sustain a radioactive chain reaction. The term has been loosely applied to communication and refers to the minimum number of people needed as adopters before a new communication technology can have a permanent place in the society Kaye and Medoff, 2001.

Williams, Strover and Grant (1994) corroborate

An interesting aspect of the critical mass perspective is that widespread use appears to have a snowball effect. Once a perceived critical mass is using the technology, those without it are strongly motivated to adopt it. The reasoning here is that despite the drawbacks, such as cost or difficulty in using the technology, people (and institutions) are pressured to adopt the technology because failure to do so may exclude them from existing communication networks.

Markus (1987), while making a case for the adoption of interactive communication technologies, suggested three propositions in the adoption process as cited in Kaye and Medoff (2001). First, the adoption and use of technology is an all-or-nothing proposition. When sufficient number of adopters exist in the community, eventually all members will adopt the technology. The best example of this is the telephone, which has nearly universal acceptance. Second, resources of the individuals are important. The fewer resources required to adopt the technology, the greater the chances are that many people will adopt it. Third, the early adoption by individuals who have extensive resources is needed as well as a

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