Has new media reinvigorated democracy or throttled good journalism, asks Dr Natalie Fenton in her forthcoming book ‘New Media, Old News: Journalism and Democracy in a Digital Age’.
And her answer? Well, the clue is in the title.
The book is not quite a pessimist’s charter, but nor does it side with the ‘utopian vision [of] everyone connected to everyone else, a non-hierarchical network of voices with equal, open and global access.’
Fenton and her team of researchers at Goldsmiths make two key observations. Firstly, that the mechanics of the journalist’s trade is suffering because of the desk-bound demands of new media – ‘iron cages’, they call them.
Secondly, new media rarely means new voices on the national stage because the ‘economics of news remains stacked against the newcomer’.