How does media manipulation affect us and how has the ‘old media’ declined?

How does media manipulation affect us and how has the ‘old media’ declined?

a blog post by Chanell Wallace

If we were to look at the evolution of the media in the past 10 years, there are many questions that challenge the idea that the media has shifted in a positive way.

Previously, the media consisted of three main components: broadcast, print and radio but in recent years these have been in decline.

The public have relied on these media as a source of reliable information. Being that they are part of the mainstream, they are automatically trusted. Reporting via the BBC, for example, already gives that credibility to the public. The established success of that media platform over the years has allowed them to gain the trust of the public in believing the information they distribute is accurate.

However, that success that may have been established years ago may now be questionable to the audiences that these media platforms distribute to. This is because they are now highly influenced by the ‘new media.’ The age of newspapers and radio is slowly dying out as the rise of social media is taking over the ‘old media.’

Since the creation of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, journalists have used this to their advantage to obtain news faster which helps them distribute it faster, although there are arguments that challenge just how accurate this information is. This is due to the fact that these aren’t news sites; they are sites that allow the public to share their thoughts on different things in their lives. This could also be an example of modern lazy journalism because the reporter didn’t obtain the news themselves. Although these platforms give the public a chance to share the news they find interesting, it also shows that the traditional journalist’s job is changing.

An example of misleading information distributed by the media was when the Daily Mail issued an article about Mark Duggan, a man who was killed by the police after it was thought that he was carrying a gun. The aftermath of his death saw the streets of London destroyed after furious people began rioting. After the riots that came from his death, the Daily Mail wrote an article about the man behind the name of Mark Duggan, portraying him as a gangster that caused a lot of trouble for the police, and a danger to the public.

The picture used in the article, showing Mark Duggan stony-faced and cold with no other context, was later revealed to be a photo of him standing at his daughter’s grave. This shows just how the media can manipulate the public into believing stories from a biased perspective rather than allowing them to have an opinion.

This also showed how misleading the media can be as they took a completely innocent picture to portray someone in a negative way which persuaded the public to believe what they heard rather than what they saw. This could raise the question of whether these are subject to influence from elite interests that control the media.

With the suggestion that these media outlets are biased it could also be argued that journalists can no longer be trusted in the age of the decline of old media and the rise of new media, which still presents problems, while it could also be argued that the progress of social media informs younger people better and with fewer filters. With the rise of social media and its link to technology it is becoming a useful resource for younger people to do many things. As social media’s main premise is the ability to share things with others, this is where we the people can use this to our advantage by sharing our own little-heard stories to social media sites to then be seen by the users of these platforms whether they are interested in news or not – even articles like this one.

Chanell Wallace is a third year journalism student studying at Sheffield Hallam University who currently runs her own blog but also writes pieces for other people. She has previously worked with Closer Magazine, Channel 4 and the BBC. Coming to the end of her degree, she hopes to publish a book and create a media company that produces news and showcases the talent of young people.

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