Acquiring news from the internet especially on politics is a common thing nowadays. The information contained on the internet is called online news. Many individuals are slowly migrating from watching television news and reading newspapers to depending on the internet for news. There is an absolute belief that internet or online news tends to be the firsthand information on emerging issues. Various social media platforms that offer online news are the likes of Yahoo, facebook and tweeter. The television channels for watching news have made it easier for individuals worldwide to watch their news. For tweeter, one has to follow and click the link of their website to view the news. On Facebook, the channels post the news for people to read and give their comments on the topic. Likewise on Yahoo one has to follow the channels and wait for them to post the news.
People are likely to select the few topics that interest them on the internet for reading. This selecting of topics and limiting others cause fragmentation to the particular individual because one misses a lot of information on other topics. The results on people selecting news that interest them affect the understanding of political knowledge among individuals. According to research learning from the news online is much different from watching or reading the news elsewhere. This article examines and discusses the literature review of online news according to researches and its influence to the individual. The aim is to find out what researchers and policy makers think about the influence of online news to citizens and their democratic nations. The main focus is on how news is presented online and how people have adapted to it. Also discussed is the difference between online news and the traditional news and how it has influenced the opinions of individuals on public affairs. The article also discusses how online use works and operates in the current society.
Different countries have democratic theories that put citizens to another level of standard. Therefore individuals need to pay attention to any type of information whether local, national and international to know what is happening outside. Formulating opinions on various issues is also another role of citizens that requires them to gain a lot of information as possible. The responsibility of acquiring news is solely based on individuals. Media sources do their work of broadcasting news and airing them for people to view. The individual has the permission to select which source seems right and correct for them to watch the news from. One can even watch the news from different channels and social media platforms to consume a lot of information at once. This will also help in comparing the type of news posted and the evidence accompanied in several channels. Individuals can also read people’s views on the emerging issue and even contribute their opinion on the topics discussed where relevant. It enables one to get access to other people’s views on the topic; at the end of the day, one is exposed to a lot of information. Citizens select news according to how it is presented and what evidence is available especially on public affairs. This pushes the social media platforms and channels to compete and strive to air quality news that will attract an individual to watch from their channel. The platforms struggle to publish or create the front page with the most recent and interesting news that will amaze the reader (Norris, 2001a).
Content is a major thing to look for when reading or watching the news to enhance ones understanding. Research focuses on the content alternatives that have emerged with the expansion of the media. Many targeted individuals are deceived by the enticement and the eye-catching headlines of a story rather than looking for content in a story before reading. Incase people started choosing content t; then many social media platforms will not be selected when one wants to obtain information from the internet. Many few individuals are influenced by the news editors who produce quality news. The news editors affect what the few people read in online platforms and even print journals because they are trusted to offer news with a lot of content all the time. Media development says that online news providers only put into consideration main sites containing interesting content to a few individuals. This aspect leads to people consuming a little amount of information about the current emerging issues. Also, the internet contributes to providing options for individuals to select and view a few segments of news avoiding the entire story. These options by the internet will decrease the number of information people get exposed to. Thus many people will not understand the happenings in nations. The selecting of news will lead to a nation with misunderstandings on knowledge and opinions on the current issues. Research says that segmentation weakens the democracy of a particular nation because citizens lack information. The agendas emerging from public affairs and opinion polls are less likely to be seen because people consume in little information through the segmentation.
Online news as observed gives people the freedom to select news that they like. It also gives individuals the power over other news production and presentation platforms. This power enables one to judge the news centers and the type of news it provides. The judgment of various news center influences other individuals who tend to gain news from those poorly judged sites to look for news from other news centers. It affects the number of views on the channel or platform and can lead to the closure of the center if people dislike it completely.
The internet or online news is entirely different from traditional news production in many ways. The internet is first and accessible anytime a current issue emerges. Online news can also be saved and viewed later at one’s time. Online news is also simplified and easy to understand regardless of the audience. Opinions from a large number of people can be drawn from online news through various numbers of platforms such as face book and tweeter comment section. Online news can also be selected; this helps in enabling one to avoid reading the unnecessary staff. Many people are exposed to online news because of technology that allows at least a big percentage to own a smart phone. Technology has played a vital and major role in ensuring the broadcasting and presentation of online news to reach a big audience within a short period. Research differentiates online news from traditional news using three aspects which are content, creation, and design (Tewksbury, 2005a).
Beginning with creation, editors and publishers of news play an important role in the production of news on any platform. Editors of the web strive to recreate or reproduce stories from the print version with some additional information coming from the interactive aspect. Editors are interested in producing additional sections from the print papers online to enable people to view their sites in such more information (Singer, 2003). By wanting to capture a particular audience, editors include more information that relates to the particular group online. Editors also strive to produce more original news than the print media for the audience to view in online platforms. Researchers say that online news sites should publish news and updates as they occur. Also, many individuals run to social media platforms when an emerging issue occurs because they are sure that the news is already there. Some researchers say that the fast rate at which online sites produce news as they occur may cause one to rethink on the quality and evidence that the news provides. Fast publication of news gives the platform an advantage over others, and this is what causes the editors and publishers to be quick in posting news as they occur. People are still questioning and trying to find out whether online news creation is beating the traditional methods of airing news. The building of the Agenda by democratic nations can also influence the way the news is created and how content is instilled in it. Because people request for information and content, the editors strive as much as possible to generate content in their creation of news. This will attract a big audience to view their news compared to other sites (Cassidy, 2005).
The public exerts some pressure for online sites to produce information about quality. Some researchers have viewed the ability and the strength in online public discussions to affect the production of content news. Blog sites are the channels that enhance such types of discussions. These discussions need to mobilize and encourage the creation of quality news. For instance, in America, the presidential campaigners use these discussion blogs to promote the amazement in supporters (Stuart, 2009). Opinions in the blogs are discussed freely, and this promotes the originality of information exposed to the citizens of a particular country. Political affairs are discussed freely in online blogs, and this enables citizens viewing or reading to consume a lot of information from the news. Mainstream news centers have adopted the idea of discussions in their programs because of the audience striving to look for blogs online. The mainstream channels encourage the editors and news reporters to use the blog sites and ensure discussions to attract the audience for quality news. This move by the mainstream also has an impact on the type of news created. It may cause the mainstream centers to produce news that doesn’t count as mainstream because of the discussions. Usually, mainstream centers provide general news on an issue. So the move to emulate the blogs on the public discussions will change the creation of news in the mainstream centers. Research should be conducted on new formats to present and create news to the community on public affairs.
Content is an important aspect of any news production. Citizens want to read and view news that is full of content and evidence, not rumors. There is a minor difference in terms of content between online production and traditional news production. The content is meagerly the same, but the value of the content is what matters. Research has observed that learning occurs differently with online news. Expectations were put that online platforms were to mobilize individuals in reacting to the news differently to catch the attention of the audience. That was not the case because online news strives to use more information through the discussions unlike the traditional news (Barnhurst, 2002). The online news platform wants to satisfy the reader and not only offer news as expected like the print media. Discussions carried online supports the exposition of a lot of information because many opinions are heard from different individuals on emerging issues. This improves the content of the type of information aired on online platforms, unlike print media. The public has also increased its participation with online news than print media because of the involvement in the public discussions in the blogs. This has promoted the excitement of individuals in participating in the discussions because of including their opinions in the news. Content has caused a greater audience to focus on online news rather than traditional news for information about many issues. This has promoted the involvement of citizens in a democratic country in the policy and agenda make. Needs of the individuals are catered for because the issues are addressed in the online platforms.
The design and manner in which news are being produced is an important aspect of news production. The interaction of a greater audience in online platforms counters the major difference between the traditional media and online news. Traditional media does not have time and opportunity to interact like the online; platforms. In traditional media, the time is limited even for the journalists to collect sufficient information from a sample of people. On the other hand, online news has an upper lead in collecting information. This is because the interaction is so great and open to everyone. One is allowed to participate in the discussion by posting their views on the current issue. Research does not cover the beauty aspect in design of online news. The only emphasis on the news is the authenticity of the text and words written rather than the graphics which is left to the advertisers of products.
Online news is distinct from traditional media because of interactivity. The audience has control over news in the online platforms and full participation in the discussions. Inclusion of photo slides and even videos in the online news has attracted people to the platforms. These photographs and videos contain evidence on the topics and issues discussed in the news. Researchers have many ideas on the interactivity of news. Some say that the inclusion of videos on the news promotes the effectiveness of the news which is not relevant to the news in any way. There is a realistic point that suggests the implications of interactivity in the news. One is that audiences will become more educated with so much information which will not leave any room of doubts. Second is that the interactivity in online news does not inform individuals but attracts the noninterested people to view news. These implications require a lot of research. Mainstream sites do not differ that much in offering online news in the aspect of psyching or mobilizing compared to traditional news. There is increased use of interactivity in the online news which is an improvement. There are useful features included in the online news nowadays and it’s the objective of the reader to utilize them to gain a lot of information about an issue ( Stuart, 2009).
The discussion on how the audience uses online news is also a vital part of this article. Some questions need to be answered such as how and why people obtain information using online news. The factors affecting the obtaining of news using online sources must also be discussed. The number of people obtaining news from online sources has increased in the past years at a high rate. Before 2000 there was a rise in the use of the internet, but after the events of 2001, the rate of using online sources increased at a supersonic rate that people could not believe. Research has shown that everyone who accesses the internet at any point will run to the online platforms to look for information whenever an incident occurs. The rise of other platforms such as cable news and radio talk has led to a decrease in the use of print media and broadcast in televisions. It shows that traditional ways of getting news are being abandoned slowly by slowly. Some individuals use both the online and traditional methods of getting news. These people use the online platforms only to get the updates on a particular topic and then wait for the broadcasted news because they believe that it’s full of content. Some people also believe that online news is sufficient and thus only rely on them for information. There are many findings on the selection of online and traditional news by various researchers. Some prefer online news to traditional news like in the case of the war in Iraq. Researchers say that online news was beneficial in getting information about the war rather than traditional news (Dutta-Bergman, 2004). The ratings are also not that bad on the preference of the two sources of getting news. Blog readers rated online news as the best but also traditional newsstands a chance amongst other people who don’t know how to use the internet. The factors of selecting the news source depend majorly on the individual (Mark, 2003).
Online sources are one of the media that allows one to select different sources ththe at one thinks they will obtain correct information. The selection of various websites or blogs depends on the individual’s history or experience with particular blogs. One will choose a blog or a website that provides full content information that is easy to understand and read. Site popularity also influences the selection of the blog. If one is popular of the site or has heard good reports from others about the sites, then they will choose it for obtaining information. For instance Google scholar and Wikipedia, these are popular sites known worldwide for obtaining information on historical news and also current occurrence. The individual’s personal choice also influences the selection of sites to read. The type of site one selects deter mines the amount of information one will acquire. There are some sites that restrict individuals from viewing some hidden information unless you have the password for the logins. So one should choose a site that discloses all the helpful information. The main aim of the selection of sources is to get exposure to full information without restrictions or misleading from other sources. Also one should choose an online source to get information, not for entertainment. There are these online sources that contain numerous ads that distract the reader when reading the information. One should avoid such sources because they waste the individual’s time and they might forget what they were looking for in the source. Specializing in some sources is also helpful because it will enable the reader to understand the information contained in the online source. Audiences who read specific sites are more likely to understand easily the information disposed of rather than those individuals who use new places every time. The nature of how people are motivated to look for information once they are online is still unclear.
Reading news online has its effects on individuals. What people learn offline and online influences their opinions on the policies and agendas of the nation in many ways. The research was done to examine the effect of individuals online and the relationship between the information obtained and the roles changing over time. The learning from online use has been seen to help in foreseeing the affairs of the nation. Research has also shown that online news creates a platform for future research because of the discussions and people’s views on the topic. People also come across information from the internet on hubs such as Yahoo and YouTube which is also helpful. Experimental studies were also carried out by various researchers on what internet users come across in the internet news and the impact in their learning (Rathman, 2002). The studies showed that most internet users choose current affairs in online news frequently than political affairs. This also applies to those that use print media. The study on New York news proved that both the readers online and print acquired little information in the New York Times and the pap, er. Even in the Dutch newspaper, researchers failed to fish out the difference between the online readers and the print media readers of the news. The Dutch study showed that the newspaper contained much information than the online sources and that the international news was much represented in the online form than the newspaper (Cassidy, 2007). Hence everyone received a fair share of information on the current affairs of that time. This study proves that the internet source is not that reliable always for information. Individuals should, therefore, use both the internet source and print media newspapers to obtain a lot, of information on issues. Also, online news differs on how they present news on public affairs and so one should look out to ensure the presentation is satisfactory. If the presentation is not satisfactory, then an individual can seek more information from other sources like print media newspapers and broadcastings.
From a psychological perspective, individuals are expected to learn more from online news. This is because online news provides one with the platform to read more information and weigh ideas. Online news also exposes one to a variety of information from different kinds of people and their view on politics. This exposure to information is what promotes learning and gaining a lot from the news. Print media only allows one to read the information that is published which is usually general knowledge. The information on print media does not dig deep into the details of the occurrence of the events (Cassidy 2007). It is usually a summary of the news co, compared to online news. In print media; interactions do not take place; hence one is not able to obtain substantial information. Online news provides a table where different kind of people can offer their contributions to the topic at hand and therefore many people learn from it. The options of researching online news are numerous as they enable one to find out more about the topic. Online sources also give the individual full control over the flow of ideas and the presentation of news. Some researchers say that online platforms are not conducive for obtaining useful information. Sundar (2000) says that the inclusion of audio and video in the news lowered its aspect of it being news. Eveland and Dunwoody (2001) suggest that the rate at which people are selecting and choosing information on the internet reduces the opportunities for them to learn. They argue that if internet users could read every, thing and not select the stories, then learning can take place. Eveland also encourages that the inclusion of links in short stories may enable people to read further promoting learning (2004).
Mainstream site centers should support the traditional media so as to build and set the agenda of the nation to citizens. Many individuals do not use the internet on many occasions, and thus the traditional media should not be isolated in streaming news. Most people also trust and believe the traditional methods of creating and publishing news. This trust should not be broken because people depend on the traditional media for news and information on current affairs. Traditional media has been there since the past decades and was trusted to provide information. Before the emerging and sprouting of technology, traditional media was the only means of knowing the current affairs. This means that culture and tradition should be maintained also to help the poor people in society who can afford internet sources. The mainstream sites should not only air internet sources but also support traditional media. All people in the society want to be associated with the agenda setting and building of the nation. The mainstream has a role in ensuring that the people who use traditional media get this the information like those who use internet although studies say that offline readers are the most beneficiaries of the political information on the newspapers which is a traditional media compared to the online readers.
Most online users tend to skip political affairs on the internet and focus on current issues. This reduces the chance of online users to meditate on the political agendas of building the nation. Online and offline media users will have different opinions on the agendas of the country. This will be due to the lack of knowledge on the topics because of selecting by online users. Studies show that if online users were to co, concentrate on public affairs, then they could have a lot of information compared to offline readers. Another study argues that the continuous use of the internet is affected by offline and online participation in politics (Hardy, 2005). Blogging affects the online mainstream agenda hence having an impact on the political process. The internet allows their online users to focus on topics that interest them (Tewksbury, 2003). Advancement in media has given the researchers some space and has made it easier for them to research in their categories. The lovers of politics have so many sources at their disposal to get information from.
The understanding of how news distribution in society influences society can be discussed by looking at several aspects. The way news is arranged in the online sites can change society in selecting the types of stories to read. The purpose of people using the internet also affects the community in the choice of sites. The contents of the news that people read also affects the society’s morals. It natures the morals of the society or destroys them depending on the type of information consumed. The people grow or fail to produce depending on the kind of information one consumes from the internet. It is noted that most people do not run to the internet for political news alone. Most people want to know what is happening elsewhere in terms of fashion, football, races, music amongst other things based on the interest of the individual.
Frequent use of the internet has raised some concerns from various scholars which affect the individual. These concerns raised or proposed help researchers to find out the political effects of online consumption of information. Some people believe that continued use of the internet may be harmful to individuals. This may be because information and news are at everyone’s disposal at any time of the day or night. People are too informed about the current issues and even predict the future which leaves no room for thinking creatively especially students. Information and news on anything are found on the internet. This has made students lazy by making their life more comfortable because the data is at their disposal. All they have to do is Google for the answers on the internet and copy paste. Concerns have also been raised on too much information on the internet as a risk to the nations. Terrorists or enemy countries may use this information to plan their attacks on the selected nations. Not only terrorists but also gangsters and robbers use the information or news on the internet to plan their raids.
Political information on the internet is also a concern to citizens and politicians. During the campaigns hate speech amongst leaders can lead to arguments in the nations. Airing of these hate speeches causes the building up of hatred among leaders of different party leaders leading to fights on the citizens. Election violence is catalyzed and stimulated by the news on the internet. When people of different tribes and ethnic groups comment negatively, or positively on the internet, it causes hatred among them hence violence. Many nations have suffered political disorder due to the online news that encourages individuals to speak out their views on issues. In the Iraq war with the US, the news posted online is what caused the move by Iraq. Some countries in Africa have also faced political violence because of the online news on the various platforms aired for everyone to see. Countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, and many others have faced these political violence issues. Exposure to online news has also steered some evil acts such as committing suicide among youths which is common nowadays. News of people attempting or committing suicide on the news encourages some young people who encounter depression and stress to do the same. Suicide is spiritually wrong and also against the moral values of society. News of rape and child abuse on the internet also promotes evil acts because the cases are often left unsolved. Much other news on the internet is spoiling the moral behaviors of young children. Information on immoral acts such as prostitution and pornography aired on news on the internet changes the behavior of some teens. Research says that a more significant percentage of youth are now watching pornography because it is easily accessible on the internet.
Other concerns raised from using online news are like specialization. Specialization is choosing to view specific topics and abandoning others. This concern can cause people to stop reading news with content and choose ones with shallow content. The internet offers a variety of sectors of the story whether politics, football or fashion. Many groups of individuals select the type of story depending on their, area of interest. For instance, most men and boys decide the football news to read because it is of their investment. They do not want to be left out with any information concerning football. Men can even lack sleep or fail to carry out daily duties because of football news. Ladies and women, on the other hand, tend to major on beauty, fashion and cosmetic news. They want to know the new trends in fashion and beauty products all over the world. This will cause them to select fashion news leaving out other important stuff. People who love entertainment are not left out. Report on the favorite music hits from famous singers is the area of their interest. These groups of individuals with different interests select their type of communication forgetting politics which should be the most critical t news first. This denies them the ability to know about politics and issues affecting their countries (Krosnick, 1990).
Another concern raised is that of segmentation. Because specialization is the electing of news by the readers then segmentation is done by the content producers. Segmentation is the effort by content producers to focus on a particular group of individuals when creating and publishing news. There are different content producers who major on various topics that affect a diverse group of people for example content producers who publish on football news focus on targeting majorly the men group. The interest shown by Men on football is what pushes the editors to post news on football. Fashion designers have also editors who target the ladies mostly on their products when publishing the story. Segmentation is a concern because it affects the amount of information one receives or reads. It has played a significant role in promoting specialization of topics by individuals (Katz, 1996).
Fragmentation is another concern raised on the effect of online news on individuals. It is the effect caused by specialization and segmentation by individuals and content producers. Fragmentation is the lack of exposure to important aspects of information by citizens. Information that is important to the individual such as health and politics is abandoned. Focus is created on the news that interests them such as football and fashion. This shows that people lack knowledge of the vital aspects of life and focus on nonessential things.
Fragmentation leads to polarization taking place which is also a concern that rose. A group of people can be said to be polarized because of the segmentation of different groups. This causes one group to conform to the political aspects a while others do not because of lack of information. This polarization comes as a result of people selecting the news to view abandoning politics for the few interesting ones. The people choosing news from other sectors to read do not have knowledge of public affairs happening in their nations (Tewksbury, 2005b). While some people specialize their news on some other topics, there is a percentage that specializes in the type of political information to read. This will also lead to a lack of content on some relevant topics on public and political affairs. Some people are even willing to set up pages that lack political and public relations news because of their dislike. Most individuals nowadays are not concerned with the events happening in their countries. People focus on music, sports, and fashion mostly. This specialization and polarization have led to the downfall of the political platform because there are no opinions on public policy like before. Nowadays a policy can be implemented by the government of a particular nation, but nobody is interested.
Online news causes information democratization. This is where there is freedom from reading news on the mainstream and social platforms. The amount of information in online news sites and blogs is satisfactory to individuals than news found on another medium like mainstream. People tend to ignore the news on mainstream sites. Many types of research have proved that the lack of information on online sites is rarely encountered. This encourages people to avoid using other sources to gain knowledge apart from online news. People also trust the information on online websites and blogs because it is aired for many people around the world to view. The fact that some online platforms allow for interaction with the editors of the journals is an advantage on internet users. This interaction promotes the supply of information to many audiences and also allows for someone to contribute their thoughts othe n the issue. These concerns of the online news show the evolution of how democratic citizens are consuming information on internet sources. It has advantages of faster and more information disposal but also the disadvantages of specialization and fragmentation. Ideas are more likely to be found in the internet sources easily than the traditional media. Online news serves many people compared to conventional news according to research. The only few people still using traditional media for news maybe lacking access to the internet or maybe obtaining news from both sources. Online news readers have the ability to specialize in the news to read leading to fragmentation and polarization. Individuals take advantage of the separation of news into segments of different topics to choose their news (Sunstein 2001). Information democratization is when citizens have full control and access to the news on the internet, and this can affect the way the report is presented. The individuals are the ones that determine how and why the story that is presented is done so. People prefer to know what others think about a particular issue than listening to what a mainstream editor feels about the subject. This is why many are stuck to internet blogs because of the discussions carried out on current matters.
Online news is essential but also at some point risky when consumed in large quantities. There is a supply of information, but also the information supplied can be dangerous when it comes in the hands of enemies and terrorists of a specific nation. It is too risky when mature content is exposed online, and young teens go across it. Mature content such as sexual instances and marriage issues affecting adults should be segmented in their section so that children cannot come across them. Disturbing news such as sickness and accidents photos should not be exposed to online platforms because it can cause some people to implications. For instance photos of people injured and some died because of a terrific accident should not be disposed of carelessly online. This information can be disturbing to some people. Bloggers should strive to post information that is of help to the audience. News that is against the moral values of a society should not be published. I posted they will lead to a change in the ethical behavior of individuals. People need to avoid specializing in some topics and abandoning some news. Specialization leads to fragmentation and polarization which causes a lack of awareness on important issues such as public and political affairs. Segmentation by editors should be avoided because it makes it easier for citizens to select news easily and leave out the important ones.
Future research is needed on this topic of online news. The reason behind the recommendation for research is that scholars have different views on the online store. Each researcher has his or her goals for suggesting a point which is also correct based on evidence provided. Although online news is a topic with many kinds of views and perspectives, researchers have to find one stand on the matter. Analysis of why people prefer online news than traditional news should be considered for research. The effects of online news to individuals should also be researched at length. Research is not clear on the differences between online news and traditional news thus further reading needs to be conducted on that issue. Online communication is a diverse topic with different insights and perspectives. Therefore it needs to be researched well because many people have different views about it.
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