Back to the Future: Is Media Returning to the 19th Century?

By: Mathew Ingram | GigaOM

In a series of articles looking at the evolution of media in a digital age, The Economist comes to the conclusion that new media — and in particular the explosion of blogs and other social media tools like Twitter and Facebook — is taking society back to where it was in the 18th and 19th centuries, before the development of newspapers and other mass media platforms. This is a phenomenon that Om described as the “democratization of distribution” in a recent post. But is this future in which everyone is (or can be) a publisher a good thing, or does it lead to the so-called “Foxification” of media?

The Economist‘s series includes an overview of the media industry and separate pieces looking at the concept of crowdsourcing — or the “people formerly known as the audience,” to use a phrase coined by journalism professor Jay Rosen — as well as the influence of Wikileaks, the alleged death of newspapers, the rise of pay walls and the idea that transparency is replacing objectivity. These are all issues that we have written about as well, including the idea that Wikileaks is a journalistic entity, and that social media makes journalism more human, whether media outlets like it or not

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