In days long gone by one would, if in the city, pass the news hawker on the street corner shouting “read all about it..25 cents a copy (insert dramatic story here)”. Otherwise, one might cluster around the radio when the headline at the top of the hour was read out. For most, of course, it was a matter of tuning into the nughtly news and catching up. In all three cases, one hardly questioned the veracity of said news. Certainly, one had the freedom of choice to do so but the singularity of the source made this unlikely. News and satire hardly mixed outside of clearly delimited venues and shows. The late show on telly was not considered an authority of any kind.
However, it is ironic in retrospect that a piece of hardware such as a radio only aided in authoritising the source in days gone by.
Enter the internet in the 1990’s and change in news came slowly at first on the heels of electronic bulletin boards and portals such as Yahoo! and AOL. More and more people had access to their own news readers so news was already changing in the way it was presented. Most importantly, newly created internet media would start to present their own view to more loyal followers on a choice of screens.
The real enabler of change was the increasing editorialization of the news through feedback mechanisms such as forums and message boards. Increasingly, as discussions of newsworthy items opened up, there was a question of what appeared on one’s personal screen. Years of interaction with the screen since the early net days enboldened people to increasingly question and later push back against news sources they found questionable. The movement away from the single source (that bakelite radio on the kitchen table for example) meant more and more polarisation of more sources and pushback.
Finally, fast forward to today where we have many sources of social media and live streaming anyone can be an “authority” to one’s loyal following. Just get your mobile device out and cover your local happenings.
This subject to be continued in installments. Look at last post Day #1 under goal about getting a chapter of my book out on here. Next installment will thread issues of personal freedom and concretize about “fake” news in this regard.