Information and Communication has swept the world with powerful force, affecting the society. Supported in its entirety by the Communication Technologies, information spread, vastly becomes faster and cheaper. The media, through which information is disseminated also gets varied in types, further revolutionalising the information era. In the past, there was a significant time lag separating the point when an event took place, and the time when the news may be publicly made available. This essay attempts to investigate the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on news gathering, reporting and dissemination.
It would be wrong to delve into this paper without knowing what ICTs are all about. Rogers, cited in Bermiger (2005:4) opined that Communication Technologies are the nervous system of contemporary society, transmitting and distributing seasons and control information and interconnectivity, a myriad of independent units”. Operationally ICTs comprise digital devices either notifies of the hardware or software for transferring information. It includes low -cost means of communication, like radio, GSM / Mobile phones, and digital television – not leaving out the internet. The essay will be divided into three sections. The first section looks at the impact of ICTs on news gathering , then the second part focuses on the impact they have on news reporting and lastly their effect on news dissemination. The major setbacks brought by these ICTs will equally be mentioned.
IMPACT OF ICTS ON NEWS GATHERING:
Talking about the impact of ICTs on news gathering, one would say that, they facilitate the creation of information by electronic means. Dugo (2008) supports this point when he posited that, I quote “In the past few decades, information and communication technologies have transformed the world in all spheres of life. Its potential for reducing manual operations (the search for sources) in fostering the growth in the media, has increased rapidly. Hence, ICTs have made possible news gathering by bringing news sources closer than ever before to the news gatherers.
Muga (2006) observed that the telephone has shortened the time between the reporter and the source, reporter and editor, saving costs such as travel logistics. Now, with the advent of the mobile phone, media Enterprises have ensured that reporters on the ground, correspondents, and stringers are only a call-away and that they are now closer to sources who are miles away. Therefore, editors can call writers direct on their mobiles for clarification, impacting the news gathering process positively.
Also, one of the immediate impacts of ICTs on news gathering, is the cost element. The cost of gathering news has reduced significantly thanks to the emerging communication technologies. Before now, reporters had to travel long distances together with other logistics to gather news, all this entails cost. But now with the ICTs, just a phone call will do. One can therefore comfortably say that, ICTs have facilitated news gathering.
IMPACT OF ICTS ON NEWS REPORTING:
News reporting on its part refers to the act of communicating the message to the audience. In addition to improving the delivery of News, Computer and Telecommunication Technology can improve both the quality and quantity of information reported. It enables the existing news industry to deliver its products in real time, and hugely increases the quantity of information that can be made available including; archives, maps, charts and other supporting material. It opens the way to upgrading the news with full screen photography and videos, while richly enhancing the richness and timeliness of the news.
Chan-de Liu (2006) argues that “Participation which necessitates reasoning and moreover trust, will help reduce the social distance between communicators and receivers, between teachers and learners, between leaders and followers as well as facilitate a more equitable exchange of ideals.” This draws attention to the fact that ICTs have made exchange of ideas, (which is a form of reporting) between communicators and receivers easy. Hence, making the communication process people centred.
One of the challenging features of ICTs in news reporting is that news is timely and immediate since the emergence of computer technology. It is evident that ICTs have had a tremendous impact on how fast content reaches the target. Unlike in the past when audience will largely rely on newspapers and broadcasters to present information or news the following day through special editions, and at the slotted news hour. ICTs have made it even easier to publish information in real time, updating breaking news and events as they happen (Muga 2006).
Garrison’ Bruce (2000), maintains that, “The profuse use of online content and facilities in news reporting has led to high productivity and efficiency at a reduced cost”. This in other words implies that, the high rate of recording of news, with high sophistication, editing database, photo imaging and mixing software, provided cutting edge facilities to broadcast industry more specifically.
IMPACT OF ICTS ON NEWS DISSEMINATION:
Samadar (1995), points out that’ ICT facilitates the creation, storage, management and dissemination of information by electronic means’. This draws attention to the fact that, with ICTs in place, news dissemination has been made easier. Still in line with this, Carlsson (2005:204) argues that, “The development of innovative information technologies and the ongoing processes of deregulation and concentration of ownership have spurred the space of globalisation, especially communication satellites and digitalisation- not leaving out the internet, had an enormous impact”. ICTs have therefore helped to bring closer, communicators and receivers to the extents that feedback is swift. This intends makes the communication process, participatory, useful and development focused, as it centres on the audience.
It is presumed that the radical changes brought in the realm of Communication through Information and Communication Technologies’ revolution, has affected immensely the dissemination of news. In the same way, the level of adoption and absorption of information and communication technologies in the media has increased, by bringing efficiencies in all the functional wings, including; production , editorial and marketing, so as to meet up with competition. Hence, ICTs have created an opportunity for wide spread electronic delivery of news.
In brief, the impact of ICTs on the gathering, reporting and dissemination of news can not be over emphasised. It is evident that news processing has been made easy thanks to these technologies.
Flew, Terry and Humphrey. Sal. (2005) Games: Technology, Industry Culture in New Media. Oxford University Press.
Change-de Liu (2006). De-Skilling Effects on Journalists: ICTs and the Labour Process. Chung Cheng University (Taiwan)
Dugo, H. T. (2008). Journalists Appropriation of ICTs in News Gathering and Processing. Rhodes University.
Garrison, Bruce. (2000). “Journalists’ Perception of Online Information Gathering Problems”. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 77(3), 500-514.
Samadar, Ranabir (1995) New Technology at the Ship Flow Level: (New Technology and Workers Response to Micro-Electronics – Labour and Society). New Delhi, India: SAGE
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