How have new digital technologies changed the way journalists do their core job and communicate with their readers/listeners/viewers? How have digital platforms changed PR strategies and how do they interact with non-digital platforms?

Journalism and the role of a journalist have been significantly changed due to new digital technologies. Rather than just writing for newspapers, radio, or television, journalists have had to actively engage with social media and use online platforms to connect with their audiences. New digital technologies have had both positive and negative effects for journalists.

According to Jericho (2012), one of the positive features of Twitter and other social media is that it, “allows journalists to make contacts with sources they otherwise have not found”.

Social media has not only allowed journalists to get direct contact with certain sources, it has also enabled a journalist’s audience to communicate and have conversations with them. As Jericho (2012) explained, “Twitter made journalists available to their readers in a manner that had never happened before. Before this new-media platform was constructed, journalists were essentially divorced from their readers or viewers”.

Ricketson (2012) discussed the fairly recent 24-hour news cycle and its effect on politics and journalism. He conveyed the negative side of having to report breaking news around the clock, “The number of reporters has not grown nearly as much as the number of outlets. The result is that there is more recycling, less checking, more commentary and interpretation”. There may be more news available, but it is not necessarily reported to the same high standard.

Information gathering for journalists is made much easier because of technological change but this also presents many problems to the journalist of trying to discriminate what is relevant and what is quality information (Ricketson 2012).

Journalism is not the only communication field which has been changed by digital technologies, public relations has also undergone a dramatic change. Foster (2012) explained that, “Brands need to join the online conversation in order to remain competitive and meet consumer demands”. It is a public relation consultant’s job to make sure that the companies they are working for are engaging with their target audience. Social media is now a key channel to publish content and engage directly with audience making PR less reliant on journalism, according to David Pembroke.

In the lecture he gave, David Pembroke also identified PR as no longer just about writing media releases and pitching stories to journalists. He said PR’s role now is to empower clients to take control of their own content. He believes that companies no longer need to rely on traditional media coverage, they are able to reach audience directly through own communication channels. Digital technology is not just a 9am-5pm task, both PR consultants and journalists need to always be on the ball and responding on social media.

The following YouTube clip explores the effect of social media on the profession of journalism:

Paul Lewis in this Tedx video looks into citizen journalism:

This article investigates the impact of social media on PR and journalism:

Reference List:

Foster, J. (2012). Writing Skills for Public Relations: Style and Technique for Mainstream and Social Media. London: Kogan Page.

Jericho, G. (2012). Journalists all a Twitter. In The Rise of the Fifth Estate: Social Media and Blogging in Australian Politics. Retrieved from

Ricketson, M. (2012). Australian Journalism Today. South Yarra: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Referring to Jurgensen & Rey (2012), how are digital technologies affecting (in positive and/or negative ways) users’ privacy?

Belinda McKeon u3096561

The introduction of digital technologies has meant that what many people would consider as private information is now shared and available online. Every time we sign up to a website, which most digital natives do regularly, we share our name, email address, phone number, age and sometimes even address. There are both positive and negative aspects to our lives going online, especially in relation to privacy.

Jurgensen and Rey (2012) believe that although we share personal details online, we choose what to disclose and what to keep private, “Both publicity and privacy are part of any act of disclosure; one is the capacity to project while the other is the capacity to protect”. They suggest that internet users are in control of their privacy and the, “interplay between the revelation and concealment is, at least partially, responsible for the seductive quality of social media”. Being able to decide what we share on social media makes it a more exciting and enjoyable experience.

The following article conveys the mistrust of sharing personal information online, causing many people to provide false details about themselves:

Jurgensen and Rey’s (2012) article uses the metaphor of a fan dance to illustrate how social media users reveal and conceal information about themselves online. They explain that, “Social media would be far less enchanting if it was … complete … exposure of the self, or the full concealment of identity through universally anonymous profiles”.

A positive aspect of being able to control our online privacy is we are able to create our desired identity online. We choose which pictures we upload onto Facebook, and we are able to ‘untag’ ourselves from photos we don’t wish others to see on our profiles. We also decide what music and articles to share, and what our tweets and statuses say. Jurgensen and Rey (2012) discuss this concept as a “front stage performance”, where the social media users present “idealised versions of the self, which requires a great deal of work and preparation beyond what is visible in the performance itself”. Online we project an identity of the person we wish to be and do not necessarily share details about ourselves which we wish to keep private.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s goal “is to eliminate ‘conspiracies’ which he describes in network terms as ‘connected graphs’ or clusters of individuals that share information internally but deny it to those on the outside” (Jurgensen & Rey 2012). If there is corruption occurring it is important to inform society, making Wikileaks use of digital technology positive. However, Wikileaks holds a huge amount of power over large corporations and governments and is able to destroy them by revealing information that should be kept private for society’s benefit.

On several websites we explored in tutorials such as Reddit, users keep their identities completely private and interact anonymously. The benefit of this is one may feel more comfortable sharing and contributing when other users do not know who they are. However, not having your real-life identity connected to your account may mean that you troll and do not positively contribute to discussions.  

Hinton and Hjorth (2013) believe that “the availability of privacy controls does not thwart sharing but actually encourages it”. Having the ability to share selectively means that users are more likely to share information rather than keeping it secret. A concern for many users is that they are not in control of what their friends share about them online, including photos of them and their location. This is explored in a video for children below:

This video conveys that living in the present world means it is impossible to have a fully private life, there are cameras everywhere capturing moments of people’s lives:

Reference List:

Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding Social Media. Sage: London.

Jurgensen, N. & Rey, P. (2012). The Fan Dance: How Privacy Thrives in an Age of Hyperpublicity. Retrieved from:

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How do the affordances of a networked media culture (hyperlinks, multimedia, sharing etc.) enhance online communication?

Online communication now involves more than just sharing text between two people; it has been enhanced by the ability to send hyperlinks, multimedia and share files. A networked media culture has allowed these advancements to occur. Social networking sites appeared in the late 20th century and have grown immensely in popularity since, creating a whole new mode of communication. Page (2011) stated “Facebook was designed to replicate and strengthen social connections that existed in the offline world” (pg. 67).

Communication through multimedia is now prominent on the internet with video and photo sharing on YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter to name a few. This allows internet and social media users to express their taste in music and movies with fellow users. Hinton and Hjorth (2013) suggest that internet users not only observe websites but interact with and personalise them, “… the internet user is perhaps not best characterised as a member of an audience, with its associated implications of passivity. This kind of user – the person who makes videos, songs, sounds, images and writings and shares them online – is something more active, something that looks more like a producer” (pg. 58).

Page (2011) outlines the “participatory culture” of Facebook with a “variety of communicative channels for interaction”. These include friends sending each other emails, using instant messaging, sharing and tagging photos, posting messages on profiles, playing games, participating in quizzes, and creating status updates where they update their current activity. All of these functions allow friends to keep in touch and easily communicate when not together.

Hyperlinks allow a webpage to link to another for a user to access through a simple click. Often they connect to further information on a topic or are sent from one friend to another because they may be of interest to the receiver. Halavais (2008) describes how the popular search engine Google functions, “By measuring which pages are most central to the network of hyperlinks on the web at large, Google is able to rank its search results according to some indication of salience”.  This is very convenient for the internet user, saving them time and providing the best results.

Popular online activities such as games and internet shopping are often shared experiences between friends. Internet users are able to compete together in games, beating each other’s top scores or working together. Friends sometimes send each other links to products they are thinking of buying, whether a car, clothes or something else, asking for their friend’s opinion before purchasing. The website Goodreads allows friends to recommend books to each other.

A networked media culture enhances online communication by allowing internet users to send each other hyperlinks and multimedia, and to share what they have found online. Because there are now so many ways to converse online, the internet has become a much more effective and popular means of communication.  

Huffington Post’s social media statistics 2012:


Reference List:

Halavais, A.(2008). The hyperlink as organizing principle. In J. Turow & L. Tsui (EDs), The hyperlinked society: Questioning connections in the digital age. USA: The University of Michigan Press.

Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. London: Sage

Page, E. (2011). Stories of social media: identities and social interaction. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis 

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Referring to Livingstone (2008), how do people use social networking services to construct their identities, and how do social connections form part of those identities?

Identity is a complex concept to grasp, but is essentially the different features that make people who they are. We ‘perform’ and ‘project’our identity by the clothes we wear, music we listen to, who we are friends with, and so on. We are not able to choose all aspects of our identity, such as our age, gender, and nationality. People interpret our identity by observing how we present it, but we are not always in control of their response to it. Since the introduction of social networking services, the way in which we ‘construct’ our identities has changed, our online identities often affecting our offline ones and vice versa as people may observe both. To be a social media user one must construct their online identity. How we are presented online is particularly of interest to teenagers.

We are free to construct our identity however we would like on the internet. On some websites such as Reddit most users are anonymous, however on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, we generally use our true names, pictures of ourselves, and our friend lists or followers are predominantly filled with people we know outside of the internet. Livingstone (2008) says “Despite the potential for global networking, most people’s contacts are local, with stronger ties centred on pre-existing study or work contexts” (pg. 395).

The statuses or tweets we post, videos and photos we share, and groups we like, all assists in building our online identity. More personal information which we choose to share or not share, such as our religion, relationship status and birthday is also a way to express ourselves online. In Livingstone’s (2008) study of several teenagers’ social media habits, she found that they were selective in sharing certain information, making “thoughtful decisions about what, how and to whom they reveal personal information, drawing their own boundaries about what information to post and what to keep off the site” (pg. 404).

Constructed identities on social media are interacted with by other social media users, or ‘friends’. Chambers (2013) states that on social media, “unlike an ordinary webpage, the identity might be contested and modified by interactive onlookers” (pg. 62). So in the same way that others affect our offline identity, they can also influence our online one with their comments on our posts, public messages to us and things they tag us in.

For most people, becoming a Facebook friend with someone does not mean that they know them particularly well, they may have just met or have a mutual connection. Because there has been minimal time to make an impression of identity offline, one often makes sure their profile and online interaction with others portrays the desired identity. Chambers (2013) explains that “individuals invest a great deal of time and effort in forming and managing impressions, particularly during the initial stages of interactions” (pg. 63).

Users of social networking services carefully construct their online identity by what they post and what information they share. Social connections, or other users, interact with this online identity and partly help form it by being ‘friends’ with, or ‘following’ the person, and through their contribution of comments and posts.

The Guardian article – How free are we to choose our online identities?

Reference List:
Livingstone, S. (2008). Taking Risky Opportunities in Youthful Content Creation: Teenagers’ Use of Social Networking Sites for Intimacy, Privacy and Self-Expression. New Media & Society 10(3), 393-411. doi:10.1177/1461444808089415

Chambers, D. (2013). Social media and personal relationships: online intimacies and networked friendship. Palgrave Macmillan

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Dumb Ways to Die. Incredibly catchy..

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