The discussion about where the most reliable source to get information is has been debated during recent years in society. The traditional media such as newspaper, magazines and television are currently battling against some non-traditional media such as Twitter, Youtube and Blogs are trying to keeping their relevance and trust of the people. As Dogu (2015) argued, media daily produces some material dramatic ideological trends which can be observed giving their version of the facts. For that reason, it is a factor which dramatically motivates people to examine past events analyzing the relations of the media and how it covers other cases. After the significant increase of alternative media, some people prefer mainly to believe just in traditional and famous communication vehicles supporting the narrative that minor media is not reliable. According to Emanuelson (2018), fake news appears throughout history, such as the private industry, misleading customers using false news in advertising such as some campaigns about the benefits of smoke. However, in current times, technology contributes to expanding news rapidly around the world. It seems obvious that alternative media is essential to provide an opportunity for people to get more than one side of the facts, give transparency for news and contribute to deconstructing narratives helping the investigation of facts.
It is undeniable that the advent of alternative media has brought the possibility for many people to have access quickly to information, and not only that, it was also possible to facilitate access to more than one version of the news. According to Emanuelson (2018), social media bringing a usable space for the spread of all kind of information. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow anyone to directly shares some information from one media to another. Famous people, such as actors and singers, can instantly share their content with thousands of fans. It is now commonplace to notice people searching for more than one source when they want to check a fact and can often see both sides of the fact. A good and current example is some news that accuses a famous and reputable person about something that can generate controversy, it is now possible to have direct access to what the accused has to say without needing the traditional media as an intermediary.
The significant increase of demand for alternative media and the reduction of interest in cable television, newspapers and traditional channels has created a space for fair competition for space and also greater transparency and concern for the reputation of those responsible for generating content. As Etter, Ravasi and Colleoni (2019) argued, genuinely, journalists tend to follow the same processes and criteria to write and frequently use a similar set of sources of information for their content. The constant reduction of time available to research, examine, and reflection forced several agencies of news to use prepackaged materials, resulting in shallow standard news. These factors contribute to the fact that public opinion might no longer rely on traditional media, as Etter, Ravasi and Colleoni (2019) reported, social media construct a plurality of experiences, stances, and points of view. The range of speakers that host the information is not necessarily part of commercial news, and much of the content became from personal experiences. For instance, it is possible to remember the incident that happened inside the United Airlines plane in April 2017, where by mistake the crew had no seats for all passengers and after an intense discussion took three passengers the force from inside the aircraft and they followed the trip. That same day, various popular and reputable media declared that passengers attacked the crewmembers of the plane, but some people filmed it hiding and managed to spread the truth about alternative channels on the internet, this is just one of many examples that help to clarify the relevance that alternative media has brought to make the facts more transparent.
The possibility of deconstructing narratives and deepening the search for truth is undoubtedly the most significant contribution that alternative media has brought to people. It is common to receive reports from people who update themselves daily using alternative media. According to Conference Papers International Communication Association (2017), civil commitment might imply personal and group actions designed to place and solve problems of social concern. This motivation can carry several forms, from individual voluntarism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. The Internet brings other ways of civic compromises, such as signing online requests, contacting federal and political employees, join in online groups, and making comments in online discussions and news. The Pew Research Center as cited by Conference Papers International Communication Association (2017), recently reported that youthful adults are more susceptible to use social media as a significant source of information and that represents 62% of U.S. adults overall get news on social media sites. In addition, 39% of also American adults take part in politic or civic activities on social networking sites, which proposed that kind of online involvement might be considered a model of political participation. This kind of behaviour with the increase of the active participation of the population contributes so that the traditional media re-think the methods of work and mainly look for alternatives to conclude better investigations in search of the truth of the facts. What is common in the current days is to see ordinary people refuting with reasonable pieces of evidence and facts some news of reputable traditional media vehicles and often bringing new elements to the knowledge of all public opinion. A shining example is the elections in several countries around the world where, independently of the political position, all have equal access to diverse sources of information, unlike the traditional model of the past, that information came only from a few sources with the tendencies pre-defined. Today, the power of analysis and deepening is in the hands of ordinary citizens.
Regarding those who believe that traditional media is the safest and most reliable source of news, some arguments support this thinking. The most important and standard is that many people understand that non-traditional media content always brings a radical view of facts with limited research resources and lack of responsibility of the authors. According to Dogu (2015), alternative media has a habit of using practices from the places or communities to which they are linked and often produce materials with radical content as opposed to hegemonic discourses. It seems clear that this argument does not hold, what is needed is to be very clear when analyzing the sources and also the truthfulness of the facts. The most honest way to do this filter is from the individual who is consuming this news, from the moment that the great and famous media vehicles define who is right and who is not, they are taking the liberty and trying to manipulate the people mind. According to Emanuelson (2018), social media bring people a significant control over the information that they see while using the service. It is never too much to remember the importance and relevance of the freedom of choice, which is one of the foundations of democracy, so it is always the individuals who must make their own choices.
To sum up, it is essential to state that alternative and non-traditional media such as Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook, are very relevant to the current society and that regardless of the political position it is always crucial that the individuals keep their complete and unrestricted freedom to define where they should auto inform themselves. As Dogu (2015) argued, “The significance of alternative media not only comes from the consolidation of freedom of information; they are also important for revealing often-ignored aspects of an issue and for representing oppressed individuals and groups who never had space on the mainstream debate.” In order to maintain this, it is essential that traditional and reputable media corporations and governments respect the positions and adverse arguments. However, it is also mandatory that individuals continue to strive for the freedom of alternative media space to be guaranteed and for all to own their positions. If the governments try in some way or the traditional and reputable media does not respect the freedom of alternative media, the future will be uncertain. Moreover, very probably might begin a kind of digital dictatorship where the truth will be filtered, and it will not be possible to have access to more than one face of the facts based on different sources of research and points of views. As a consequence, this might also produce several implications for the people everyday life, such as a possible collective alienation that is hugely negative for the development of future generations mainly about to the critical thinking which is a vital instrument for building people’s intellect and be successful in their lives.
- Conference Papers – International Communication Association, (2017).Who finds value in news comment communities? An analysis of the influence of individual user, perceived news site quality, and site type factors. Conference Papers – International Communication Association, 1–38. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.myucwest.ca/login.aspx?direct=
- Dogu, B. (2015). Comparing online alternative and mainstream media in turkey: coverage of the TEKEL workers protest against privatization. International Journal of Communication (19328036), 9, 630–651. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.myucwest.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ufh&AN=110802699&site=eds-live
- Emanuelson Jr., E. (2018). Fake left, fake right: promoting an informed public in the era of alternative facts. Administrative Law Review, 70(1), 209–232. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.myucwest.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth
- Etter, M., Ravasi, D., & Colleoni, E. (2019). Social media and the formation of organizational reputation. Academy of Management Review, 44(1), 28–52. doi:10.5465/amr.2014.0280true&db=ufh&AN=135749835&site=eds-live
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