The Way Sharing Changes Our News

Newspaper

News is made to be shared. Publishers share news to tell other people about things that are happening in the world. In a world like today’s, that should not be a problem as sharing is something we all, not only news publishers, do a lot online. The interesting fact is that we share online. And with online comes a whole new dimension and other factors that have an influence on sharing news.

The big difference is that individuals can now participate, and that they have a bigger voice in which news is read and which is not (Lee & Ma, 2012). Quite a big impact, regarding that this influences the way news is perceived. News sharing has changed throughout the time, with different technology trends and roles changing the environment. Because in addition to the readers that have a big influence, the technology trends bring social media platform and analytics companies to the game. In this essay, the different trends and roles will be analyzed, to gain better insight on the way we perceive news and how that changes journalism.

Trends in news sharing

With the introduction of internet and online news, a lot of things have changed in the journalism atmosphere. Before the Internet was used, news was mostly shared on paper, the so-called traditional media. When the Internet became more and more popular in the mid-1990’s, a shift was made towards the online world where media publishers now also published their news (Chyi & Lasorsa, 2002). Examples include some of the top news websites right now, like CNN.com. In addition to that arising news providers that only provided content via Internet entered the market, for instance Yahoo! News and Google News.

Since the rise of the Internet the market has been changing. The one-way communication Internet changed to Web 2.0 which brought different social media platforms to the stage. In light of news sharing, these platforms have had a big influence and still do. Platforms like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are on top of the news sharing platforms.

Chart showing social media sites as pathways to news.
Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are the greatest pathways to news for social media users.

Image retrieved from: http://www.journalism.org/2018/09/10/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2018/pj_2018-09-10_social-media-news_0-03/

Sharing has changed. Before, sharing of news items was done by clipping them or to record bulletins. Now there are platforms with the solely goal of sharing news. Sharing on these platforms comes in different stages, like favoriting, liking, voting, bookmarking, link promotion and commenting (Dwyer & Martin, 2017). So, a big trend that is seen here is that there is more interactivity with the reader than before. With traditional media, users passively received the news. Nowadays, readers can actively engage. Social media activate users to create and share news content this way (Lee & Ma, 2012). And all these sharing options allow to bring more measuring opportunities.

For example, metrics can now be used to track the audience that reads and engages. Before digital times, metrics where mostly an approximation, covering the audience as a mass and splitting on demographic differences (Carlson, 2018). With the rise of digital media, there are better ways to track the audience. This new dimension has consequences on many levels. It is common for news publishers to watch their metrics to see what is read and what not online. This way, the behavior of the readers can be tracked and measured (Hong, 2014). With these new measuring ways, more things can be tracked, like attention and engagement (Dwyer & Martin, 2017).

Another difference is that there are lots of new sources to get news from. Because users can also create content online very easily, news is everywhere. A problem that comes from this is that the credibility of news can be considered to be uncertain. This is a big uncertainty arising from the use of social media (Osatuyi, 2013).

Impact

These differences and trends in the world of digital journalism affect the news space in quite a way and have impact on the different parties aligned in this process.

In short, the following actors play a role in news sharing:

  • News publishers
  • Readers
  • Social media platforms

Social news sharing on news publishers

Firstly, these differences and new technologies impact news publishers and companies. Since the news sphere has changed, news publishers and companies have to make changes as well. Different studies have found that the metrics talked about earlier influence news editors in their choices in editorial decision-making. These metrics helps to make decisions on new content plans (Hong, 2014). By this, it could be said that a loop is created. Because the readers read the news, which creates metrics which the publisher responds to. This created news is then read by the readers, which creates new metrics, but in the way that the publisher has already monitored, and which meets the audience in their daily patterns. Which leads to the audience now being all monitored and recorded news users (Carlson, 2018). Reasons for this are mostly based on the economic benefits of getting more readers (Hong, 2014). However, it can be stated that this is a complicated question where various actors play a big role.

Social news sharing on news readers

The impact of social news sharing can be stated to be large on news readers, as they are the end user of it, but as researched before, also have an influence in creating the news. Alongside with that, readers have many more choices than to only read the news. They can click a news article, share it, and do all this without even reading it. So, it can be stated the way that users perceive news has changed. The consequences from this are that news is customized for different readers and is targeted this way (Glyn, Huge & Hoffman, 2012). Another trend that influences users is that they like sharing news, as it gives them a feeling of building on social relationships and it satisfies the informational needs of themselves (Lee & Ma, 2012).

Social news sharing on social media platforms

The most influential actors in this process are the social media platforms and intermediaries like Facebook, Twitter, Gigya and Chartbeat. Standing in between the consumers of the news and the news publishers, the platform’s algorithm is the one who can be accounted for which article is read the most. Social media platforms have the like-buttons, and can this way promote the most favorable information. Their economic features are that they have the data on the users, as holders of the freemium business model (Dwyer & Martin, 2017). As these intermediaries are integrated into the news publishing websites, for instance logging onto your account to like or share an article, they have even more data on what users read and view. This gives them a lot of power and can make us research who in the end is in charge of who.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be stated that the journalism world has dealt with a lot of change in the last couple of years. With new players in the market, new trends and technologies, a change of writing, reading and sharing news can be seen. And this will not stop, because of new technologies rolling up very quick. In the future, the different roles will change even more and with the steady growth of social media platforms, the social media intermediaries will acquire an even bigger position within the social news sharing ecology.

There are different good things about this changing news atmosphere. Consumers have entrance to more customized news for their liking (Glyn et al., 2012). With growing numbers of users of social media, more data is acquired, and news can be targeted even better.

However, the changes also are the reason of some devastating facts. Fake news is an upcoming trend and is still hard to fight against to. And since the attention of readers has to focus on more than only reading news, it happens quite a lot that readers share news earlier than they read it.

It is good to take into consideration that the news we read is based on the way we share and perceive news. Whether that is if we share something without reading it, or with reading it.

References

Carlson, M. (2018). Confronting Measurable Journalism. Digital Journalism, 6(4), 406-417. DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2018.1445003.

Chyi, H. I., & Lasorsa, D. L. (2002). An explorative study on the market relation between online and print newspapers. Journal of Media Economics, 15(2), 91–106. DOI: 10.1207/S15327736ME1502_2

Dwyer, T. & Martin, F. (2017) Sharing News Online. Digital Journalism, 5(8), 1080-1100. DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2017.1338527.

Lee, C.S., Ma, L. (2012). News sharing in social media: The effect of gratifications and prior experience. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(2), 331-339. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2011.10.002.

Glynn, C.J., Huge, M.E., & Hoffman, L.H. (2012). All the news that’s fit to post: A profile of news use on social networking sites. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1), 113-119. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2011.08.017.

Hong, T.V. (2014). The online audience as gatekeeper: The influence of reader metrics on news editorial selection. Journalism, 15(8), 1094–1110. DOI: 10.1177/1464884913504259.

Osatuyi, B. (2013). Information sharing on social media sites. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(6), 2622-2631. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2013.07.001.

Featured image on front page: 

News is changing day by day. Image: Filipe Ferreira, some rights reserved

About Hillene Nijenhuis 3 Articles
Exchange student at University of Sydney, Information Science student at Utrecht University, The Netherlands

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