New Media and the Mainstream Media

Posted: October 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

What advantage does the Mainstream Media (MSM) have over the New Media (NM) anymore? The Magic Bullet theory days are long gone, where the powers-that-be dictated the public consciousness. Since the early 1990s, when the Internet first gained prominence, the decline of the MSM has been marked. Previously, where the only source of news was either through the newspapers or through word of mouth, there was now an alternate voice.

However, the first NM websites to publish alternate sources of news were heavily slanted towards the conspiracy theorist side of things. They were the websites set up to “inform” the public about the Area 51 and Roswell Conspiracy theories. These were set up by individuals who felt that the MSM were not representing their interests enough, and wanted to share what they knew with other people. While their ideals are, to say the least, slightly misguided, this is the basis for NM: social duty. The man on the street chooses to share his experiences and knowledge with his fellow man. While this is something the MSM can attempt to emulate (through editorials), it simply cannot compete with the plethora of insights from bloggers around the world; Thomson Reuters has a staff of 55,000 in 29 countries, but this really cannot compete with the number of individuals in Singapore alone who are capable of airing their views through their blogs.

Although the MSM is better funded than individual bloggers or the man on the street, it does not necessarily mean that it produces more accurate or more reliable information (see example here).

In fact, there are many citizen bloggers who blog about a certain industry for which they used to work for or have past experiences working within the MSM. The quality of input from these people are, as such, as credible as the editors working within the MSM if not even more so. It is true, however, that due to this funding, the MSM is able to have sources from every corner of the world, and also have access to technology that the common man does not. An example would be the meteorological services. The MSM will never be totally out of the game because, having the funds, it can partner with institutions that provide technical information, get the information first, and distribute it to the masses.

The MSM seems to recognise that it cannot compete with NM, choosing instead to adopt a “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude. Most people know about this, that newspapers have their own official websites to compete with blogs. Websites such as Stomp, which promote citizen journalism have also been set up. What they do not know, however, is that the Straits Times (and various other news networks) have also started appearing on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Now, Facebook and Twitter users can receive updates from the MSM while browsing through their friends’ statuses or looking through updates from their favourite singers/artistes.

This encroachment into NM territory appears to be a concession that the MSM in its traditional form can no longer exist; it needs to almagamate with NM in order to survive. This has caused an emergence of a new form of media: the New Mainstream Media. This would enable the MSM to keep to its roots, while keeping up with the NM, being able to reach out to a greater audience, remaining relevant in our lives.

Both NM and MSM are required in our lives; the balance of stability and dynamism that both provide are such that they complement each other perfectly. And with the New Mainstream Media breaking through, we can be sure that they are both here to stay.



New Media vs Old Media


  1. IAN says:

    CHRIS!!! I SHOULD REALLY HAVE READ THIS B4 MY MIDTERMS, i would have totally aced it. well new media is definately dominating right now. And i agree with the point you brought forth about how everything is turning up on facebook or twitter. even my church has its own facebook and twitter.

    ps, you should read my freshies blog….i think his post about new media is really interesting(:

    and chris, i read this ok! hahah

    • sohchris says:

      It is definitely a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them” for the traditional media with regards to the move towards new media. It is needed for them to remain relevant. After all, they cannot really charge for Twitter and Facebook feeds.

      Interesting, though, for your church to have Twitter. What kind of news updates does it actually offer?

  2. prills101 says:

    Although the new generation is more knowledgeable and able to discern right from wrong, seeing too many times of a wrong can make it right. Thus, as the mainstream media is where we get all our information of the world from, we need a responsible media to disseminate information and not have news stations like FOX News Channel in Singapore. honestly though, how are we to know how to discern right from wrong, and whether it is truly right or wrong !?

    • sohchris says:

      I beg to differ about the new generation being more knowledgeable and discerning. What the new generation has is Google at its fingertips. We are not more discerning. In fact, we’ve become too overreliant on the internet for answers. This has actually led many scholars to believe that we are heading towards an age of pre-enlightenment, when people simply did not question why anymore.

      Then again, your point on FOX. Who watches the watchmen?

  3. treenie7 says:

    I agree that in order to survive, MSM needs to take a leaf out of NM’s book. I believe that as society progresses, and people becomes more educated, they start to have a better ability of thinking for themselves; therefore, when more alternative voices start to appear, people tend to be more welcoming.

  4. Rawbeanladen says:

    As with evolution, MSM has to change in order to be relevant and competitive in the technologically advanced world today. Much of its success depends on how it markets itself and make it user-friendly to receive a high uptake rate by the mass.

  5. Unknown-gene says:

    I agree while NM brings us sweet surprises now and then, we must not forsake the MSM. The rapid development of NM has proven our means of communication. Twitter for example, now allows you to follow news all around the world from different sources, gossips and information flows nicely into your phone by just clicking onto the ‘Refresh’ button. NM has provided us with information that is easily accessible and convenient, whereas MSM provides us with information in detail.

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