The 20th Century marked a watershed where people began to recognise the changing nature and environment of the media. Mass media, broadcast news, and the professionalisation of journalism, were buzzwords for the media then, just as they are now.
The revolution of news on screen and radio, broadened the political minds of many, in a midst of newly found easy access to the political world, away from print news.
Media outlets slowly began to ease their political alignments shifting between the advocacy for parties, and the supply of unbiased views, in attempt to provide ‘neutral’ perspectives.
With this increased ‘professionalisation’, we saw a new kind of journalism developing.
Without compulsory training, or specific knowledge sets, journalism ‘isn’t the ideal liberal profession’, in comparison to careers such as law or medicine. However pride is, and should be placed, on a journalists’ ability to ‘impact society’ and ‘serve the public interest’. It is this new autonomy that has founded journalisms professionalisation.
So, with these developments, if we reflect again, they bring the question of whether we are seeing another ‘new kind of journalism’ in amongst this global pandemic we are facing today.
Common articles around Coronavirus have recently, and necessarily so, surrounded recent case figures, medical advice being offered, or recent demands for enquiries into countries levels of ‘preparedness’ for such a pandemic.
There are some positives in amongst this, including a new-found appreciation for keyworkers and national spirits of ‘togetherness’. There are also lots of negatives that can come from, and are found within situations such as these – those sadly lost, government performance, and public urges to panic-buy toilet roll or baking goods.
Yet this news is being bought to us in a different way, and more importantly, is the only news that is being presented to us, and has been for the last three months.
There has seemed to be a lack of attention to what we are being shown in the media. Countries have seen ‘normal’ life come to a halt, confined to life of self-isolation and lockdown, and the media has followed suit.
The media has become isolated in its news of Coronavirus, suggesting the possibility and also some truth to how global news has taken a back seat. Or that there is no global news to report – which seems harder to believe.
Furthermore, there is a sense journalists’ questions have also become constrained during what has become, the daily press conference ritual. Time and time again we see some journalists asking the same questions, most notably ‘when will lockdown end?’.
This could reflect national frustrations, or to rightly hold governments accountable, or is this because, there is not much else they can ask?
This is a new kind of journalism.
Journalism before has seen constraint from state intervention and technological drawbacks, and to some extent, still sees this on varying levels. Today, as World Wars once consumed media attention, our battle against Coronavirus takes their place.
It is up to ourselves to decide whether this ‘new’ in our new kind of journalism, be taken for the logistics of how press conferences are now being held. Or that more than ever, more media channels are receiving more airtime attention, or even how questions are being asked in these conferences, are becoming limited.
Nonetheless, these all suggest a new kind of journalism, in a time that demands the attention of one subject only, one that is continuously at the forefront of all our minds.
Written by Courtney Bridges
Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini, ‘Comparing Media Systems: three models of media and politics’, (2004), p.13, 16.