News and Broadcasting before the Internet

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Technology is involved everywhere nowadays and with the introduction of the internet, receiving news and media is at the touch of a button. Gone are the times when one had to wait for the news or tune into a specific channel on the radio or tv. Now, anyone can read the news through mediums such as websites, podcasts, apps, blogs and more. One great example is the BBC, an international multimedia broadcaster that delivers a wide range of language and regional services on radio, tv and social media. With a weekly audience exceeding 270 million, the BBC is one of the most important cultural exports from the UK. In the past two decades, BBC has started transitioning towards social media and websites as a source of online news. This allows the latest breaking news and events to be published almost immediately after it has occurred.

Before the internet was developed, print media, radio and television news and word of mouth were the main methods people used to stay connected to the outside world. It connected to people using stories, videos, pictures and published events, allowing them to stay up to date with a variety of topics. Throughout the 20thcentury, the need for newspapers gradually transitioned from the telegram into the radio then into television. Each transition rendered their predecessor slightly more obsolete with one recurring theme among them: the people’s desire to receive news as soon as possible and their openness towards new technology that permits them to do so. The adoption of online news over television and radio can be explained by factors such as: low costs, more news variety, 24/7 updates, ability to discuss news with peers, customization and more.

With the invention of the internet, the method of providing news completely changed. For example, the printed Newspaper business has faced many challenges and is now in terminal decline. Advertising revenue accounts for roughly 80% of newspaper income and is no longer attractive as media giants like google and facebook offer far more effective and cheaper ways to target consumers. In the past, news presented to the public would be extensively researched and fact-checked to ensure accuracy, transparency and accountability. Facing new financial realities, it has led many news organisations to prioritise quantity over quality and clickbait headlines. There is increasing pressure to distribute as many news stories as quickly as possible ahead of competitors. Unfortunately, these developments contribute to the modern distrust in the transparency and accountability in media.

With the growth of the internet, many new sites with increasingly niche interests began to proliferate. Lower costs associated with online news created many opportunities for small news businesses, journalists and freelancers. With the right amount of funding or good audience base, new websites can voice their opinions and be heard; something that was virtually unheard of before the internet. Social media brings local communities back to journalism as anyone with a phone could easily take photos and videos and upload them for everyone to see. Not only that, journalism on a local scale could also be contracted by larger media companies.

While the internet has permanently affected the distribution of traditional media, it also created many new methods of news delivery. The fast-paced deliverance of news and media means that a story from today would be a forgotten story tomorrow. With so much information floating around, it is incredibly easy to be misled and misinformed. It is always worth taking the credibility of sources into consideration.

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