Depending on who you ask, everyone’s news source will vary. Might not be a newspaper. *cough, cough* If you ask someone in the Pilibhit district of Uttar Pradesh in India for instance, they’ll likely respond, “WhatsApp!” Now you’re wondering how an encrypted end-to-end instant messaging app intended to send secure messages and make VOIP calls can possibly offer hard hitting news. Well… here’s how. This is the chosen platform one local reporter is using to build a novel news service that has attracted thousands of subscribers in under a year. He calls it “Rocket Post Live”.
Now, you might not view yourself as a reader. Contrarily, maybe you’re aspiring to be a hard-hitting journalist. Great news mate! No need to penetrate the world of legacy media. WhatsApp can also help you with that. Since 2015 you could share your stories and eyewitness accounts with BBC quick and easily. It’s the same as sending an elaborate text including audio, video, and images. The instructions can be found here.
Moving forward, real journalists (the character type – not the profession) can embrace these newfound opportunities as defenders of the fourth estate. Losing funding brings on new unprecedented freedoms. This is a time where everyone’s laptop, tablet, smartphone is their podium. This next image might help in clearing some things up.
The Internet is undoubtedly challenging the existing revenue models of journalism. Yet this presents journalists with unanticipated opportunities to reach larger audiences faster. The convergence of technologies and globalization effect of the digital age is thus granting journalists the chance to speak up and get the message out effectively. “[It] is making it extremely difficult for governments to develop regulatory policy fast enough.Current press and broadcast laws are only valid within the borders of the state concerned. But this may change.” (Herbert 2016, p.17) In other words, if you’re a journo, this is your time to shine!
Herbert, J. (2016). Journalism in the digital age. 1st ed. [Place of publication not identified]: Focal.