Research on two media outlets – Journalism Futures

Essay question

“The internet has all to often been regarded as an economic opportunity more than an opportunity to change and improve journalistic practices”(Salter and Jones).
Critically evaluate the above quote using at least two examples of current online news outlets as evidence as well as the lectures, seminars and outside readings.

The two media outlets I have chosen are:

The Guardian

  • Founded as a local paper replacing the radical Manchester Guardian known as The Manchester Guardian until 1959.
  • Sister papers include The Observer and The Guardian Weekly.
  • In the 2015 election The Guardian endorsed The Labour party.
  • Owned by The Scotts Trust, which aims to ensure the papers editorial independence. Maintaining its financial health to ensure the paper did not become vulnerable to take overs by for-profit media groups.
  • A big factor in why the paper is the only British national daily to conduct an annual social, ethical and environmental audit. This allows The Guardian to be be examined under scrutiny of an independent external audit, its own behaviour as a company.
  • It is also the only British daily national newspaper to employ an internal ombudsman (called the “readers’ editor”) to handle complaints and corrections.
  • In 2011, The Guardian news revealed annual losses of £33m.
  • For 3 years to June 2012, the paper lost £100,00 a day.
  • In 2014, The Guardian launched a membership scheme aiming to reduce financial loss.


  • Print magazine and website focused on arts, culture and news topics.
  • Is a division of a film production company, record label and a publishing imprint.
  • Advertising and craft sponsorships
  • Chief Creative Officer is Eddy Moretti, Andrew Creighton is President and the Editor-in-chief is Ellis Jones.
    • Co-founders: Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi.
    • Shane Smith:
      – Canadian Emmy Award-winning journalist and web entrepreneur.
      – CEO of Vice media
      – Net worth $400 million
    • Suroosh Alvi
      – Pakistani Canadian journalist and film-maker
      – Covered stories for Vice
      – Net worth $400 million

Week 2 – Core reading notes – Journalism Futures

Extract Author: Stuart Allan
Year Published: 2006
Book title: misunderstanding the internet
Publisher: Open University Press
Page Numbers: 13-30

My notes – Chapter 2

The rise of online news

  • 1995, Time posted an article on ‘exploring this new fangled concept of cyberspace’. Which explained the state of internet technology and various assessments on everyday life.
  • Commerce, computer crime, the wiring of schools, online dating and digital television were subjects covered.
    In 1995 only a small number of readers to the paper would have actually possessed experience of the internet.
  • The article is now recognised as an intervention that represents a formative moment when the internet deemed newsworthy enough to warrant an in-depth article by a mainstream news publication.
  • Several special issue articles provided insight into ‘cyberrevolution’ and an introduction into the magazines own brand of journalism to new media forms.
  • Each weekly issue of ‘Time’ was available on the electronic newsstand of America Online. The fastest growing of commercial computer services at the time.

Breaking news

  • Tipping point of internet news, 19 April 1995, Oklahoma City bombing.
  • That morning a rented truck with 4800 lbs of explosives was detonated outside a nine-storey concrete office block of federal government agencies.
  • Bombing killed 168 people, including 19 children and wounded 500 more.
  • That fatal day is now considered a landmark moment in online history, particular attention was the immediacy of the news coverage, its volume and breadth of the story.
  • Minutes after the event, journalists and editors were rushing to post whatever information they could about the tragedy.
  • Elsewhere on the web, lists of survivors and the hospitals treating them were published.
  • Discussion forums called ‘newsgroups’ appeared, this allowed people to give expression of their rage, while some offered emergency aid for victims.

Scooping exclusives 

  • In aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, advocates of the internet insisted that it had proved itself to be an indispensable news and information resource.
  •  Others argued it was slow to react and offered news that could otherwise be available in evening news papers and on television. Others pointed to technical glitches, with several major news sites grounding to a halt because of overwhelming demand of users.

Of fact and fakery 

  • Discussion of the potential to the internet as a news source grew greater in the inner circle of journalism for months to come after the Oklahoma City tragedy.
  • It became increasingly obvious that journalists could not compete with their electronic viral where breaking news was concerned. This being particularly obvious at a time of crisis, when people need for information to provide rapidly unfolding events was of paramount importance.
  • The reliability of information available online became increasingly a matter of dispute.

Immediacy, depth, interactivity

  • Notions like ‘new media’ and ‘computer-assisted reporting’ slowly became part of journalistic lexicon.
  • Other commentators regarded the internet as posing danger to society. The web was argued as a ground for cultists. Young people in particular were at risk of being ‘brainwashed’.
  • Making demands for control over the type of information allowed to circulate on the web a huge talking point throughout this chapter.

Week 1 – Core reading notes – Journalism Futures

Extract Author: James Curran
Extract title: Reinterpreting the internet Book
Author/Editor: James Curran Natalie Fenton Des Freedman (eds)
Year Published: 2012
Book title: misunderstanding the internet
Publisher: Routledge Abingdon
Page Numbers: 3 – 33

My notes: Chapter 1

Interpreting the internet

  • 1990 – Experts and public figures predicted that the internet would transform the world.
  • The medium of the internet would shrink the internet, promote dialogue between nations and foster global understanding.
  • It would be an unstoppable force: like the invention of print and gun powder, it would change society permanently and irrevocably.
  •  It was assumed that technological of the internet; its interactivity, global reach, cheapness, speed, networking facility, storage capacity, and alleged uncontrollability – would change the world beyond all recognition.
  • As the internet evolved and previous predictions were fulfilled, the internet’s impact became ever more assured, it shifted from the future to the present tense.
  • In 1995, Sherry Turkle an MIT guru, celebrated anonymous online encounters between people on the grounds that they could extend imaginative insight and forge more emancipated sensibilities.
  • Sixteen years later, Sherry Turkle changed her mind. Online communication could be shallow and addictive and can get in the way of developing richer, more fulfilling interpersonal relationships.

Economic transformation 

  • In the 1990s, it was claimed that the internet would generate wealth and prosperity for all.
  • This speculation then hit mainstream media in 1995, ‘The Internet gold rush is under way’, declared the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (6 December 1995).
  • The internet was labelled with undisguised relish… ‘reduce National Lottery jackpots to peanuts and make City bonuses seem like restaurant tips … ’. Punters could become rich too, it was promised, if they invested in whiz-kids’ IPOs (initial public offerings).
  • In 1999 Business weel declaimed ‘We have entered the Age of the Internet’, ‘The result: an explosion of economic and productivity growth first in the U.S., with the rest of the world soon to follow’ (emphasis added).
  • The internet now – The internet provides, we are told, a new, more efficient means of connecting suppliers, producers and consumers that is increasing productivity and growth.
  • The concept of the New Economy is often cloaked in specialist language. To understand its insights, it is seemingly neccessary to learn a new vocabulary: to distinguish between portal and vortal, to differentiate between internet, intranet and extranet, to assimilate buzz concepts like ‘click-and-mortar’ and ‘data-warehousing’, and to be familiar with endless acronyms like CRM (customer relationship management), VAN (value-added network), ERP (enterprise resource planning), OLTP (online transaction processing) and ETL (extract, transform and load).
  • The internet has modified the nerve system of the economy, affecting the collection of data, the interactions between suppliers, producers and consumers, the configuration of markets, the volume and velocity of global financial transactions, and the nature of communication within business organisations.
  • The internet has not revolutionised shopping. While over 40 per cent of Japanese, Norwegians, Koreans, Britons, Danes and Germans bought something online in 2007, fewer than 10 per cent did so in Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Mexico and Turkey.
  • Although in countries where online shopping is widespread, it tends to be concentrated on a limited range of products and services.
  • Online shopping will become more extensive in the future because internet access will increase, and security concerns will probably decline.

Global Understanding 

  • During the 1990s, the internet brought hope of a wider global understanding and would create a community of informed, interacting and tolerant citizens.
  • Another reason for optimism, is that the internet is less subject to state censorship than traditional media, and is better able to host a free, unconstrained global discourse between people. It’s partly because ‘people will communicate more freely and learn more about the aspirations of human beings in other parts of the globe’.
  • Critical political theorists argue that, the ‘denationalization of communication infrastructure’ and the rise of ‘decentered internet networks’ are creating webs of communication that interconnect with one another to create an international public sphere of dialogue and debate.
  • The central weakness of this theorising is that it assesses the impact of the internet not on the basis of evidence but on the basis of inference from internet technology.
  • The internet however, isn’t bringing the world together, It is in-fact allowing the wealthier more affluent countries talk among themselves.
  • The total proportion of population in 2011 who are internet users is 30 per cent.
  • The world is divided by language, most people can speak only one language, and so cannot understand foreigners when they communicate online. The most commonly used language online is English (only 15 percent of the world’s population understands).
  • Language is a medium of power, so those writing or speaking in English have the upper hand in terms of a larger global connection. So dependent on the language you use online controls who gets heard and understood more.
  • In many parts of the world people cannot, without fear, interact and say w hat they want online. Global internet discourse is distorted by state intimidation and censorship!
  • the idea that cyberspace is a free, open space where people from different backgrounds and nations can commune with each other and build a more deliberative, tolerant world overlooks a number of things:
    – The world is unequal
    – Torn by values, interests and national and local cultures (such as religion and ethnicity)
  • This could then result in, babel of multiple languages, hate websites, nationalist discourses, censored speech and large representation of the advantaged.
  • But with negatives comes positives, increasing migration, cheaper travel, mass tourism and a global market of integration encourages a sense of transnational connection. Shared experiences, taste, music and humor all encourage a sense of connection.

Unemployment in Britian’s youth

Britain’s youth has been labelled national disgrace for unemployment but is it out fault?

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics have shown that there are just under 200,000 18 to 24 year olds currently unemployed around the UK. This alarming figure has caused concern for this age bracket on whether they should pay for higher education.

The choice just before the end of school or college is to work or consider more education, but can we trust the fact of getting a job. This decision is just as risky as paying £9,000 a year to complete a degree, to then not find work after.

Retirement age in the UK is currently as 65 but this age has been phased out as people can now work as long as they want. As for today’s youth, this means not enough jobs or jobs that pay poorly. Unemployment isn’t the only problem, the 65 plus aged workers ready to retire sadly cant as their pensions doesn’t cover basic living. So to carry on with work is their only option.

The solution is to vote.
If Labour wins this years election they have promised to make sure that all school leavers are in an apprenticeship scheme by 2025.
The Conservatives have stated that they will fund 3 million apprenticeships for young people by 2020.
As for UKIP, subject to academic performance they will remove tuition fees for students taking approved degrees in science, medicine, technology, engineering and maths on the condition that they live, work and pay tax in the UK for five years after the completion of their degree.
The Green party believe higher education should be a public service open to all, and would fight to end the tuition fees system.

This years general election has been set for Thursday 7th May and you can register yourself to vote at if you haven’t already.

Gender in Public Relations (assessment)

When someone thinks of Public Relations they instantly think of woman out partying with big celebrities, which to some extent is true. Public relations is a female dominated profession. Although, comparing men to woman in the PR industry sees fewer woman to receive promotion at senior level roles. I hope things are soon about to change!

With the change of how Public Relations networks and communicates the need to be in contact 24/7 has greatened. Not only do you need a strategic and economic mind but also have skills in new channels of social media, as well as good language skills, flexibility and efficiency. All these skill aren’t leant in a classroom but can be developed to a higher level of advancement through education. To say the PR industry has a higher percentage of men with senior roles, the percentage of male graduates with a communications degree of some sort is actually relatively small! Up to 90% of female Public Relations undergraduate students dominate university education.

Sadly the high percentage of women in education doesnt dominate positions and roles woman receive in the Public Relations industry. This is also relatively low in the wage they receive annually too. Men within the PR sector earn significantly more than women a year. Women are usually found to dominate the mid-level PR rank doing mostly day-to-day tasks and are usually in command of smaller size agencies. Whereas men in higher positions make decisions along with a board and dominate and lead the larger agencies. PR Week published an article on the battle of the gender pay gap. It was in fact worse than I first thought! Men are in fact paid more at every level of the industry, from officer to director. Women in the position of director earn around £82k annually with men earning a difference of 8.95% at £90k annually. The unavoidable truth is that men remain to earn more than women in equivalent positions and this trend becomes worse the higher up the industry you go.

Convergence and Public Relations (assessment)


Media convergence gives the ability to concentrate the use of multiple communication technologies on one single device. In more colloquial terms convergence brings together the use of one device to communicate on a number of platforms. For example, using your mobile phone on a number of social media’s as well as email, text messaging and answering phone calls all at once.
Not only does convergence effect the way we use our phones but also the way we access news. Newspapers will eventually all exist in electronic form as printing paper will become too expensive to compete with the online version. It was of last year (2014) that a major newspaper company within the UK bought its last printing press. This in time will see the death of issues like ‘one size fits all’ where newspapers would print on a certain type of paper dependant on the market or, classified adverts.
Television is now broadcast on demand and programmes throughout the day can be recorded to watch over and over again. The first transmission signal came from the BBC with only a single channel to receive the picture. Now there are hundreds of channels and the same programme can be viewed in numerous ways and devices.

Online sites such as Wikipedia have to control and monitor information that is updated on their webpages daily. Together the use of Wikipedia allows people to update a page on a particular subject or topic. Separately it’s almost impossible to know everything but together Wikipedia allows people with knowledge to come together to extract that knowledge for others to read and use. This is the use of Collective Intelligence!

Converging communications can be done in a number of ways from;

  • One to one’s, like a text between friends
  • One to several, usually done on social networks
  • Many to one, I’m sure my lecturers receive the same email from all their students about assignments on the daily
  • Many to many, found in forums
  • One to many, broadcast of TV, radio and celebrity tweets

These converging conversations are either paid or earned conversations from the media, another organisation or the general public. These conversations can be found across all forms of technology and will be on the internet for the whole world to see.

For Public Relations, convergence means practitioners need to be knowledgeable on a variety of media platforms from the way they produce media to how they deliver that media to its audience.  With this knowledge of media, convergence creates new challenges towards communication between stakeholders and the audience.
With the history of an organisation on the internet for the whole world to see, the audience or market of the said organisation can now research and seek information to make connections among different media platforms. From previous research the use of new technology allows an organisations audience to no longer be passive or biased towards a company, as the consumer can now research and create their own opinions. Participatory culture is the core of how a person becomes a customer and/or a consumer.

Technology and hierarchies (Assessment)

Bird pooThink back 10 even 15 years, mobile phones were the latest gadget to hit our high street. Unfortunately, for most of today’s generation they can’t even fathom a life without such technologies. Today a new model of phone is released every 6 months, but unlike 10 years ago mobiles aren’t just for answering calls. You can send and receive emails anywhere around the world in seconds but how does this affect Public Relations and the way they communicate.

Technology will affect how connections and networking between people is sent and received. Without technology ease of communication would become much more complicated. Paper and pen is the first thing than springs to mind when you think about old ways of communication, although I think everyone feels joy when they receive a hand written letter in the mail. Sadly nowadays technology has taken over the way the world not only receives news but also breaks it. Computers have become more advanced from their size to their capability. Todays’ technology market was all about having a device that was compact and could be easily portable, but looking at new mobile phones now their sizes are beginning to increase each inch at a time.

With a heavy heart, technology isn’t all about the death of the letter it’s about connections. The old system of putting colleagues into a hierarchy will soon be seeing its own funeral too. The original tier saw CEOs at the top along with directors and managers, putting assistants at the bottom of this hierarchy. As technology develops, communication between a CEO at the top of the system will allow an assistant at the bottom to communicate with their boss in a quick and simple method. Usually email. Communication such as email and text are two forms of technology we all use on a daily basis and can be done in a matter of minutes. But before these new ways of communication were developed conversations between these tiers was very difficult, with letter and fax the only way to contact your boss. How did someone at the bottom of the heap talk to someone at the top? Well they couldn’t so usually a lot of problems were never fixed. Today however, email allows anyone to talk to anyone. I use email daily, to contact; lecturers, friends or to buy products from the internet. Using technology to communicate has allowed me to research and find future employees and email them in hope of receiving work experience fit for my CV. Considering I’m a student currently travlleing in New Zealand over the Christmas period, I’ve been emailing and holding a conversation with head of PR agencies the other side of the world with just my phone. To think that it’s only been 15 plus years for technology to be this advanced I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Social Media and Public Relations (Assessment)

Public Relations has come of age where Social media has control of how a consumer can connect with an organisation. This means the Public Relations industry is facing changes due to the media and internet competing with this ever changing development.
Traditional media communication throughout the Public Relations industry allowed a message from the organisation to be direct, no longer does this process happen. With the rise of social media, the old structure of communication between an organisation to a consumer will soon be put to bed. This means no more passive audience!
Stephen Waddington the CIPR president published a blog in 2013 on ’The Future of Public relations’, he points out ‘A brand has no more and no less than a connection between an organisation and its audience. The brand exists only in the mind of the audience through the reputation it earns, by what is says, and how it acts. Brands are running scared because those connections are multiplying beyond their control and audiences have started to answer back.’
What @Wadds is trying to point out is this, communication between the consumer and brand purely couldn’t exist together and now the basic model of an organisation surrounded by its audience has changed. Social media independently has its own presence within this model. As a direct reaction, the internet allows people to discover and share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. For an organisation this could determine its success. One day as a successful organisation and the following in complete tatters. As Stephen points out brands are running scared from this change as the internet now has control of an organisations reputation.

As pointed out by Stephen Waddington, social media and the internet have huge control of how reputation management is conducted. With the future of Public Relations changing, organisations will have no choice but to mould itself like social media has. If an organisation won’t make efforts to change with the quickly ever-growing times of social media then their future as a business will imperatively become bleak. One bad comment about a company on social media can and will be seen by a huge amount of people and will be on the internet for everyone to see, forever!
This allows the consumer to change their relationship with an organisation quiet drastically. Bad experiences and services a consumer has received can be dealt with directly, basically cutting out the middle man, the old system of sitting on the phone for hours taking to 5 or 6 different people to get to the complaints department can be done with a single email. This also allows follow up of complaints to be dealt with quicker. Although, not only can a brand communicate with a consumer but other brands too. A relationship between organisations can begin to form. The use of social media helps brands to track what other brands are doing. Not only do relationships form but also competition, changing the market we shop in. Horray for social media I say!

Dark Art: The Ever Changing Face of Public Relations by Tim Burt (Assessment)


This book isn’t what’s first expected from its title, no illusion or enchantment is involved. Tim Burt cleverly addresses the changing face of public relations in the ever changing industry of finance. Burt uses his first-hand experiences to explain the role behind advising boardroom panels about multi -billion pound takeovers. Tim Burt also introduces a new acronym called Dadba, it describes five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. The acronym was created by the swiss-born psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her acclaimed work. Originally created to help individuals come to terms of a lost one, it is now a helpful metaphor for how companies or individual executives deal with crisis.

Tim Burt, former managing partner at StockWell Group, an international communications firm. Is now formerly known for being an award-winning journalist at the Financial Times and partner at Brunswick, a world’s largest PR agency. Throughout the book Burt attempts to investigate the impact of the digital environment and the likely winners and losers of the old ‘Dark art’ of spin.

The book first starts off a little dry with not much to grip yourself with, but after the first chapter Burt begins to explain the meltdown that happened in 2010 with BP and its oil spillage and how the backlash of humiliation BP underwent began to make other organisations life Toyota and News Corp suffer. He then goes on to explain why so many organisation leaders and their boards have suffered with corporate grief and using the acronym Dadba helps. “There have been numerous high-profile sufferers of corporate grief in recent years, affecting the careers of individual executives or the companies they lead. The denial, anger, bargaining depression and final acceptance affects corporations in a wide range of industries over failed deals.” Not only does he expand on crisis PR but follows the history of 1920s propagandists through to global agencies of today.

Is this book for students? For me, I’m not entirely sure about the industry Tim Burt develops into, but for someone wanting to get an in-depth look into the financial world yes. The book does in-fact go into detail of how an organisation as big as BP or Toyota should deal with world crisis’ and how they actually dealt with the crisis which lead to job loss. From the reading the book I would say Tim Burt is clearly well diverse and has great knowledge in his explanations throughout PR history but for me maybe reading the book again would allow me to understand the true meaning to Dark art: The changing face of public relations.

How my life has changed from being a 1st year

As this is my first official blog post (exciting) I didn’t want to start off in the usual manner of ‘Hi, my names Carissa’ (Blah, Blah) but instead I have compiled a list of my first year of university at UWE to how life as a student is now.

Over a month into second year uni life I have come to learn certain life skills that separate a second year from a fresher.
1. University lecturers have more respect for the whole class, seemingly lecturers feel that we actually want to learn unlike a first year who is only here for the parties and socials (Not stereotyping at all!)
2. Having a presence on social media is extremely important (“How will you get a job after your degree if no-one knows who you are”) said by my lecturer on the daily.
3. You, the student have more respect for your lecturers. In second year they are pleasantly surprised you have followed them on Twitter since that first lecture with them. (You may even get a follow back)
4. Living in a house is completely different to living in halls. (Bills, rent… everything you need to know that school and college don’t teach you!) Surprisingly the algebra you were made to take a 2 hour long exam on becomes irrelevant.
5. Friends you make in first year soon become your second family even if you are all a little weird. (Although I wouldn’t change the bunch I call family for the world!)
6. Official titles within the household start to appear, for example ‘House Wench or House Mother’, ‘The lazy One’, ‘The anti-social one’ all of which are found in my household.