mardi 30 mai 2017

Journalists and democracy

Journalists have the freedom of expression, thanks to democracy. Democracy protects them and gives them the keys to produce quality information for their audience. In some countries, whistle blowers are protected by the law and journalists have access to official and financial documents… It helps them a lot to do well their job.
I think that journalists can be considered as a tool for democracy. Indeed, if you study briefly the derivation of the word “democracy”, you find that - Demos à people – Kratosàpower. Democracy gives power to the people and gives them the freedom of expression. Journalists should use this freedom of expression to protect people’s power.

Journalists have rules

Today, they have access to the mass media, to inform people. More than the newspapers, the TV, there are Internet, Facebook, Twitter, the web sites. It gives the opportunity to communicate on a global scale.
But because their audience is so huge, they have so many ways to communicate, and that the democracy protects them, they have to be careful. That is why they have a code of ethic to follow. Every country has its code of ethics, but basically, we can find the same principles in all of them.
A journalist must be accountable and transparent, act independently, minimise harm and seek truth and report it. The code of ethics shows that in a certain way, journalists are also supposed to protect the democracy, as it supports them.
Citizens have the same right to the freedom of expression as the journalists. They have the same access to the mass media, but they do not have to follow a code of ethics. Because of that, it is easier for them, for the citizen-journalists, to publish fake news, for example. As it is written in another article, what is published on the media takes part in the education of people. It means that they can bias the education of people, if they publish fake news.
It is a big issue for the future, and it points the fact that there is a lack in the law, for this new category of citizen-journalists.

What future for the citizen-journalists?

It is not reasonable to imagine that people could continue to publish fake news. As the journalists, they are protected by the democracy, they enjoy the freedom of expression, but some of them abuse it. To fight against that, it could be possible to create a code of ethics for the citizens. But it would have to be different from the code of ethics of the journalists, because citizens do not have the same rights and responsibilities.

This difference is not the only barrier. Indeed, journalists have to follow their code of ethics because they are professional. But add a code of ethics for the citizens? I could be considered as an attack against their rights, and by extension against democracy. 
Below, a video done by a journalism school.


Fake news, a new war

For the last few months, we have heard a lot about fake news. Fake news is, basically, false information, rumours, published in the media. Most of them are found on the digital media. It would be wrong to think that fake news is something new. It has existed since the beginning of the media, but today, because of social media, digital media, its impact is much more important. 
According to Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow, their “database contains 115 pro-Trump fake stories that were shared on Facebook a total of 30 million times, and 41 pro-Clinton fake stories shared a total of 7.6 million times.” It means that pro-Trump wrote more fake news than pro-Clinton. And that they have been more shared.
And what if Donald Trump has been elected thanks to fake news?
And is fake news a new war? An economic and an ideological war?

Fake news, an economic war

I think that it is time to ask ourselves these questions. Fake news is an amazing way to earn money by lying to people. It works in the same a classic web site does. The more clicks you have, the more people share, and the more you earn money thanks to the ads on your web site, blog etc. To write good fake news, to have lots of clicks, the best is to involve rumours, politician, lies, religion and beliefs.
Increasingly, social media as Google, Facebook and even some newspapers try to control fake news. For example, Google started to taking off its ads from websites which published fake news.
It is a good thing, but it fights more the effects of fake news than the causes, according to me. Because of their code of ethics, journalists are not supposed to write fake news. But citizen-journalists do. Does it point a lack in the law? (We will come back to this question in a future article) Can citizen-journalists can, thanks to that, manipulate the public opinion?
It brings me to the second part of fake news: the ideological war. Fake news is not only a way to earn money. It is also a way to convince people, even if it is with false information. Some studies even showed that falser the information seems, the more people believe it.

62% of US adults get news on social media

Today, there is so much information that it is difficult to know what is true or not. What to believe between an article shared on Facebook, an article on a newspaper web site, a Tweet? The question needs to be asked, because according to Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow, 62% of US adults get news on social media. It is an amazing audience.
People who write fake news enjoy this situation, and try to give false information to defend their own interests. It can be done with and by and for politicians, as it has been the case in the US and in France elections recently, or for a product, or a society, or about an actual fact.

It is an ideological war, according to me, because media can be considered as an educational tool for the people. If the information on the media are false, people will receive a biased education. That is why an issue to fight against fake news, could be to media educate people. With some rules, it is easier to recognise fake news. Education is the key.
Below, you can find a video with some tips to avoid fake news.


mardi 21 mars 2017

Headlines, a frame for our ideas

Computers, mobile phones, tablets... They changed the way that we were using to communicate

Social media changed the way that we have to think, at a point that now, “a headline determines how many people will read a piece,” said a contributing writer for

Digital technologies changed the way that we have to communicate, it is a fact. 
But it also changed the way that the media used to communicate with us. Today, most of the media, TV, newspapers, radios or magazines are also presents on the web. And on this area, all are in competition, because they are equals. Most of the time, the first thing that we see on social media, it is the headline of the article. With a picture or a video, it is one of the best weapons to attract the reader.
“Everyone knows that a headline determines how many people will read a piece, particularly in this era of social media,” even said Maria Konnikova, contributing writer for the 
In these conditions, the question is: what journalists should do to make their headlines attractive?
Which one would you like to read? And why?
More and more, unfortunately, some journalists opt for the sensationalism journalism to try to sale their newspaper. I think that it is the first danger when you are writing a headline. 
If I had the choice, I woulk like to read the last article and the reason is simple. It makes me wondering a question. Which are these countries? Which are these countries, and once again, does Donald Trump targeted the Muslim community?
The first one is interesting, because it focus on 'Middle East flights" but as a reader, I would like to kow more. 

Post truth area context

The second one, for me, does not give enough information. In this area of post truth, of sensationalism journalism, we do not know if we have to stop about it.
Another constraint that journalists have to respect is the space that they can use for their headlines. This constraint could be a "bad" thing as a "good" thing. It avoids to write too long headlines. But sometimes it is frustrating to cut your ideas.
Write a headline is difficult, according to me, but it is the mirror of your article.
You can find more tips here.

mercredi 15 mars 2017

Has social communication become a problem?

Provost John Ryder

“Digital technologies can sometimes be an obstacle to communication", the provost at the American University of Malta said on Wednesday.

Prof. Ryder talk “Politic by Twitter” was not really about Twitter.“It was a sexy title, but today, we will be more focus on digital communication in general,” as he said. “I have to confess that I’ve never used Twitter,” he completed. “I found a little bit perverse to use only 100 characters for a sentence.” His words seemed to find an echo among the public presents at the Excelsior Hotel on Wednesday night.

"Thanks to the digital technologies, we can easly indentify a common interest"

By digital communication, Ryder included all the means that people have today to speak with others, by using new technologies as Facebook, Twitter or the emails. “This type of communication doesn’t include a face to face. And it could have a perverse effect,”he continued.
Ryder gave as example the recent crises between the US and Mexico about the wall that Donald Trump wants to construct. For the US president, Twitter is an important tool to communicate. “Thanks to digital technologies, we can easily identify a common interest and we can talk about it, even if we don’t have the same opinion,” said Ryder. “But today, the trend is to argue more than talk,” he regretted.
Ryder remembered an interview put on a website that he gave few months ago. “Yesterday, I went to take a look to this interview,” he said. “Under, I saw the comments and there, it was full of bad words against me, and bad words written with the bad spelling of course.”
Ryan pointed that without the face to face, the communication involves less engagement.
Nevertheless Ryan was still optimistic: “I am not opposed to digital technologies.” Among the 50 presents, one man asked to Ryan “Do you think that digital technologies could help to teach? Because lots of people think that it doesn’t,” he said.

Digital technologies as educational challenge

“Education and teaching are very good example of how digital technologies could be useful,” answered Ryan. “Some people think that we will lose a part of the education if we do like that, but no.” 
He reminded to the assistance that some articles shown that students read more anduse more material and online sources with online coursesHe also said that “It is the way how we communicate with the technologies that could be a problem, not the technologies by themselves.”