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Has social media taken over the role of journalism?

Researching into the authenticity of news became more demanding and critical if one wished to maintain credibility in storytelling

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Has social media taken over the role of journalism

During the early stages of print journalism shifting towards digital media, observers may never have predicted that the internet would eventually become a primary source of news consumption in the coming time. 

Social media has drastically changed the role of journalism as we speak, forcing journalists to adapt their work to suit today’s digital audience. These shifts are fundamentally rooted in how journalists collect newsworthy information and then present them in their stories, hence, leaving journalism with the options to either perish or to adapt.

Bevelyn Dube, professor and research specialist in Journalism and media studies, explains in Challenges for Journalism and Education that; “journalism is evaluating information before disseminating it to the public.” She says, “this sifting of information ensures audiences receive quality news to help make informed political decisions”. This means all journalism we consume plays an integral role in how we react and speak up on various issues. 

By the early 1990s, a vast selection of online news websites were readily available and continuously multiplying. In fact, by the 2000s, digital media had advanced so much that e-magazines, electronic journals, and virtually-streamed live events became the new norm of life. 

However, keeping up with these developments was challenging, particularly for those still familiarising themselves with the internet. In some ways, wanting to keep up meant compromising on the content published. Dube explains in a case study how “it’s about investment in technology now, rather than analysis,” where the aim is to outdo your competitors in breaking news live to audiences. Where journalism was perceived as reporting, “that which has happened”, it is now reporting “that which is happening.” 

Today, as most readers prefer to use Twitter, Facebook, and news apps for quick reads on topical issues, it is becoming increasingly hard to remain relevant and interesting. Sorting fake information from fact has become one of the most challenging experiences, as social media increasingly takes over. 

When Twitter was introduced in 2006 for microblogging and networking, many journalists thought the app would be a disaster, by becoming an online dumpster for spreading false information. Surprisingly, as its audience grew, the view of their journalist counterpart also started to change, as they soon realised that Twitter could be a helpful tool for research. As a matter of fact, “Twitter [gave] print journalists a chance to beat TV news cameras to breaking news”.

However, while this new platform meant that news began spreading like wildfire, thus, making it easier to retrieve information, it became increasingly crucial to run thorough background checks before it could be picked up as a story. 

Researching into the authenticity of news became more demanding and critical if one wished to maintain credibility in storytelling. Like reporters and news editors, photojournalists were also alarmed, “about altered images [online] getting passed off as documentary photography.” 

Moreover, journalists also started picking up issues they hadn’t seen before. Some described it to have fuelled the flood of propaganda masquerading as news. [Amplifying] the political discourse, sometimes in very ugly ways.” 

A story’s success became dependent on hashtag counts & trends. An unsuccessful story could quickly be buried under similar posts, and not to mention the race for influence and followers everyone became distracted by. 

Robinson Meyer writing for The Atlantic magazine, says, “On Twitter, ideas are so commodified that to say something is simultaneously to amplify it. You’re never just saying on Twitter.” 

This idea, to me personally, is rather interesting. Today, looking towards the humanitarian crisis in Palestine, the voices of journalists have helped in successfully bringing this issue to light. Where a handful of prestigious news organisations have chosen to remain objective in their judgment and portrayal of the crisis, others have decided to step forward in solidarity with the people of Palestine. 

However, this has only been possible within such a short period of time due to social media. While journalists can voice their opinions to followers on Twitter and Instagram, it is up to the audience, to enable the content to go viral by liking, sharing, and commenting. 

Nevertheless, journalism is nothing without an audience. With the growing dependency, that the readers have on the internet, journalists are compelled to modify storytelling techniques to keep their passion for journalism alive. As a journalism student myself, I firmly believe that journalism can never fall out of ‘trend’ or ‘use.’ As I know it, it is instead ever-growing in the things we read, see, and hear. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Daily Brief

SumOfUs’s Researcher’s Avatar Sexually Assaulted in Horizon World’s Game

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Brelyon metaverse desk scaled
  • In Meta’s virtual reality platform, Horizon Worlds, the avatar of a 21-year old SumOfUs researcher was sexually assaulted. 
  • Meta confirms that it has set up safety tools in Horizon Worlds in order to prevent negative experiences, especially since there were earlier reports of virtual assaults and inappropriate behavior in February. 
  • One of the safeguards introduced was Personal Boundary, which prevents any avatars from coming within a set distance of 4 feet of each other in order to respect the avatar’s personal space. The company also offers other ways in order to block and report users as well.
  • Nevertheless, SumOfUS reported that the researcher was “encouraged” to disable the Personal Boundary feature, and was approached by 2 male avatars in a room, one of whom was observing and the other got fairly close to her. She also witnessed lewd comments, homophobic slurs, and virtual gun violence. 
  • SumOfUs has filed a resolution with some of the shareholders, requesting a risk assessment of the human rights impacts in the metaverse. A shareholder meeting is set to be held on Wednesday. 
  • SumOfUs’s campaigns director Vicky Wyatt stated, “Let’s not repeat and replicate [real-world issues] in the metaverse. We need a better plan here on how to mitigate online harms in the metaverse”.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Society

Saudi Asks Disney to remove controversial LGBT scene from Doctor Strange 2

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Screenshot 2022 04 27 at 11.31.53
Theme Park Tourist, via Wikimedia Commons

Saudi Arabia has asked Disney to sensor 12 seconds of a lesbian character with two mothers, from Marvel film, before it can be screened in the Kingdom. 

Officials said that the film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is not banned but the kingdom is “still trying” to get Disney remove the controversial reference. 

According to Nawaf Alsabhan, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification, the requested cuts amount to “barely 12 seconds” in which a lesbian character, America Chavez, refers to her “two moms”. The character is played by the actor Xochitl Gomez.

The Doctor Strange sequel is being released around the world next week. Disney has not accepted the request to sensor as of yet. 

Alsabhan said “It’s just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms. And being in the Middle East, it’s very tough to pass something like this.”

“We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing,” he added.

But about the movie being banned, Alsabhan has denied the reports.

“It will never be banned,” he said. “There’s no reason to ban the film. It’s a simple edit … So far they have refused. But we haven’t closed the door. We’re still trying.”

It was reported in Hollywood as unconfirmed reports that the film has been banned in Kuwait. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar advance tickets have been removed from sale but not in the United Arab Emirates.

Previously in November, Marvel movie The Eternals was stopped by the regulators for featuring a gay couple. Edit requests were made from Gulf countries, which were refused by Disney. The movie did not screen in the countries. 

In Saudi Arabia, movie ticket sales totalled US $238m in 2021. 

Disney is willing to accept loss of its millions of dollars of market share in the Gulf countries, just to promote a controversial agenda against the sentiment of people of the countries. On the other hand the kingdom has its resolve to protect the sentiment of its citizens by refusing to screen the movie.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Entertainment

A Netflix Original: Adding Advertisements to Boost Profits

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On April 18, 2022 Netflix Inc. reported that it had lost subscribers for the first time in over a decade. The following morning Netflix’s stock plunged 35%, adding to the streaming platform’s slump. Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of this year and it expects to lose an additional 2 million in the current quarter. The media giant blames the loss on increased competition and password sharing as well as several macroeconomic factors such as “sluggish economic growth, increasing inflation, geopolitical events such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and some continued disruption from Covid.” In the face of such extreme revenue drops, Netflix announced that it may turn to a new avenue for profits: advertisements. 

Netflix’s turn towards advertising could pull the platform out of its slump and even increase profits in the long-run. Selling advertising slots would raise immediate revenue and ad-tier subscription plans could bring customers back to the media giant. Subscribers looking to save money could opt for a lower priced Netflix plan that includes ads while subscribers willing to pay more can continue using Netflix without commercial interruption. 

Advertising is now found on nearly every media service and it carries immense implications which are often overlooked. Every internet search and online purchase done by a consumer is recorded and added to a data log which can then be exploited and integrated to match consumers to certain advertisements. By targeting buyers with products they are more susceptible to buying, corporations can control consumer demand to create an infrastructure of desire. This infrastructure relies on corporations using modern marketing technologies, such as targeted ads, to create trends in society which fuel waves of demand for different products over time. These demand waves are the foundation for buyer-driven supply chains which manipulate  aggregate demand to drive increased production of a product in the supply chain. If Netflix adds advertisements to its platform it may become a major player in the global economy’s supply chain empire.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Saira is a Muslim American with a passion for writing, economics, and justice.  With a background as a UC Berkeley graduate with a bachelors in economics allows her to quantitatively analyze critical developments from around the globe as well as their long term impacts on financial systems and social welfare. She is dedicated to reporting in an investigative, honest and compassionate manner to give voice to those who need it most.

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Daily Brief

Netflix is Expected to Lose 2 Million Subscribers by July as Shares Already Drop 35%

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  • More than $50 billion was wiped off Netflix’s market value and shares have decreased by 35%. It was revealed that there was a relevant drop in subscribers and experts predict that millions of more viewers are expected to let go of the streaming service. 
  • There are many problems that can contribute to this decline in viewers and market value; first being that Netflix faces a lot of competition from other streaming rivals such as Disney, Apple, and Amazon Prime, and second, after Netflix left Russia, it had raised its prices. 
  • What put things into perspective was when William Ackman, one of America’s best known investors, forwent his $1.1 billion investment and lost $400 million. His hedge fund had bought the shares only 3 months ago, but Ackman lost confidence in the company’s prospects and felt the investment was too risky. 
  • In a trading update, Netflix revealed that it had lost 200,000 subscribers in the last three months, and was expected to lose two million more by July. Many consumers are cutting back on streaming subscriptions due to limited funds and there is just too much content to choose from amid all the other streaming rivals. 
  • Netflix also faces another challenge of struggling to expand due to consumers sharing passwords; Netflix estimates that about 100 million non-paying households utilize the service in this manner. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Slap Heard Around the World Has Now Gotten Will Smith Ban From The Oscars 

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  • At the 2022 Oscars Award Ceremony, Will Smith shocked the public by slapping comedian Chris Rock, which resulted in a ban from the Oscars gala and any other Academy events for 10 years. This news came after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, the organizers for the awards ceremony, set forth disciplinary action for the actor. 
  • Will Smith has apologized for his actions and went on to resign from the Academy, which means he will be unable to vote for future Oscar nominees. This reaction by Will Smith was caused when the comedian Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. The actress has been suffering from a hair loss condition called alopecia. Will Smith went on to win the best actor role for his role in the film “King Richard”, where he portrayed the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. 
  • This action from the Academy came as a shock to the actor as he said in a statement he had felt betrayed of the trust he had in the Academy and was heartbroken over his actions. He went on to fully accept the consequences of his actions. There have been a few who have resigned from the academy, however his award will stay intact. 
  • In addition to the ban, two studios, Sony and Netflix, are putting a pause to future projects of Will Smith. The comedian Chris Rock has publicly apologized for his joke and hurting Jada and Will Smith. He did tell fans at a show last month that he is still processing what happened and will talk about the incident at some point. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Entertainment

Women in Iran Condemn Discrimination in the Film Industry

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Iranian women walking and talking

Over 250 Iranian women within the film industry have condemned the issue of systematic inequality widespread within their line of work, signing a petition advocating for change last Friday. Sexual harrasment, financial disparities, bullying, and violence were included in the statement, calling on committees to address the situation and hold offenders accountable. Amongst the signatories include well known Iranian actors, directors, and producers. 

“We condemn any violence and sexual harassment in the workplace, and to end it, we call for serious legal consequences for the violators,” The statement reads. “Not only is there no mechanism to prevent powerful individuals from committing violence, there is also a non-written agreement that inflicting violence against women in work spaces has been normalised, with no serious ramifications threatening the aggressor.” It also called on the education of “the issue of sexual and gender-based violence,” along with addressing reports of such allegations. 

The Iranian guild association responded this Sunday, stating it was ready to investigate all such reports and is devising a committee that addresses these issues. They stated that “we must not allow a minuscule number of potential undesirable behaviors by some cinema people to be generalized to the majority of talents working in Iran’s proud cinema”. They also stated that those facing abuse should report their cases, without “feeling worried, and allowing abuse of position and power with your silence”.

Iran’s High Council for Human Rights Kazem Gharibabadi voiced support for change within the industry. He mentioned a previously approved bill, Protection, Dignity and Security of Women Against Violence, which was postponed in moving forward. The bill “mandates the judiciary of Iran to allocate resources towards domestic violence survivors and inform judges and other staff on these types of crimes” while also “[encouraging] dissemination of information of the nature of domestic violence crimes and how to identify women at risk” and “[increasing] medical and psychological services for survivors and ensure additional staff training.” If passed, the legislation will be a significant step for women’s rights in Iran. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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