Digital Journalism: How Good Is It / The Next Generation
In Michela Massings' article: "Digital Journalism: How Good Is It?" he discusses many different types of digital media, and evaluates and critiques how digital media is viewed today.
Massings starts off by saying that The Huffington Post is undergoing an identity crisis. When they first started, one of their main innovations was using core contents from outside sources. The majority of their items come from the Associated Press, Reuters, and The New York Times and The Washington Post. Recently, Arianna Huffinton announced that the cite plans to end their relationship with AP and that they will be building an in-house news service. There were previous attempts similar to this, both of which failed. The Huffington Post claimed that “print-based imports proved a poor fit in an all-digital operation,” but Massings claims that this was used in order to turn a profit. Massings also states, “In its early years, The Huffington Post seemed on its way to defining a new type of digital journalism. Ten years on, it seems stuck in place, struggling to recapture the innovative spirit that had once defined it.”
This has also been seen in other first generation digital news sites in general. For example, Taking Points Memo offers almost the same mix of blogging, reworking content from other sources, news, and opinion pieces. The site is littered with a mix of ads and has a $50 annual subscriptions for access to extra features, yet also runs regular “longform” pieces as well. Massings mentions Andrew Sullivan, a famous blogger who feels as though ads were not only distracting but also “created incentives for page views over quality content.”
Massings also discusses how “what once seemed distinctive now seems like just another voice in the instant-analysis-and-commentary crowd.”
In part two, “Digital Journalism: The Next Generation,” Micheal Massings points out shortcomings of the next generation of digital journalism and addresses many concerns with it.
BuzzFeed was founded in 2006 and is now one of the internet’s most prominent journalist sites. They are known for their playful listicles, GIFs, teasing headlines, and most popular of all, cute animals. BuzzFeed also has many investigative reports but are described to fall flat within the structures of investigative reporting that most people are used to in this country, Massings also critiques that BuzzFeed does not attain “true journalistic independence” when talking about advertisements and other controversies on the site. “One way or another, BuzzFeed needs to become bolder and brasher. Otherwise, it will remain known mainly for its cat photos.”
Overall Massings believes that the “second generation” (sites such as BuzzFeed) create entertaining and visually engaging material which has had a mesmerizing effect on what we now know as digital journalism, but these sites also lack a sense of outrage or other emotions that are evoked when reading on a more traditional (or first generation) site. Massings also states that many collegues he interviews all agree when he says that there are so many different sites offering information whether that be investigative or something merely for entertainment, the meaningful distinction of digital journalism often gets lost.
"In its early years, The Huffington Post seemed on its way to defining a new type of digital journalism. Ten years on, it seems stuck in place, struggling to recapture the innovative spirit that had once defined it."
“…the site analyzed it from every which way. But everybody’s doing that these days, and what once seemed distinctive now seems just another voice in the instant-analysis-and-commentary crowd.”
“Some of these sites are for-profit, supported mainly by advertising; others are nonprofit, relying heavily on philanthropy.”
I completely agree with Massings when he illustrates these points. I know in my personal experience in regards to the next generation article that when I go on Facebook, I am overwhelmed with advertisement and articles with catchy headlines. When I find myself interested in one of these I click on it usually to find a website that is very dodgy and most often I get the idea that the information given to me is not accurate but is mainly for entertainment.