If I’m being completely honest, as 20 year-old college student the news is not my first priority. Between practice, class, and Netflix, I just don’t have time for a relationship with CNN. I sadly knew more about Miley Cyrus twerking before everything Syria, all thanks to Twitter. Sadly, I am not the exception. The presence of citizen journalism on the web has seen a steady increase. More and more people are using the Internet and different websites to access their news.
Media conglomerates implement the concept of gatekeeping, which simply means deciding what is considered newsworthy and should be reported to the public. This follows the traditional journalism structure. What about all the crimes, protests, successes that go unreported unintentionally or intentionally? That is where the concept of gatewatching and AnonNews.org take pride in voicing depth and breadth when it comes existing journalistic content.
AnonNews is made up of every day citizens, bloggers, and journalists dedicated to reporting what the mainstream media doesn’t. They want to “disseminate information they view as vital, separating it from the political and celebrity gossip that inundates the mainstream.” They are striving to become the hub of independent reporting. They focus on livestreamers, reporting an event as soon as it is happening instead of aggregating after the fact.
One of their most recent stories is called Operation Payback using the hashtag #OpSony to “out” Sony on their abuse of the judicial system in an attempt to censor information about how their products work. They write that Sony victimized their customers and violated their privacy. AnonNews writes that Sony wishes to suppress information for sake of corporate greed and complete control of the users. The article ends with a warning to Sony saying they will experience the wrath of Anonymous. There are over 2,000 comments on the article. Talk about negative publicity. This article shows how the revealing of hidden details left in the media can be unleashed in an unconventional setting and allows viewers to frame it in anyway they want. Reading some of the articles I think Anonymous is the closest thing we have to objectivity in media today. It is honest and has the public and their desire for truthful information at heart. Their freedom to post the content they want allows for a larger audience demographic and larger amount of newsworthy topics to be discussed.
Gatewatching can be done by individual bloggers or organizations dedicated to reporting and evaluating the news that commentators may not report right away or at all. Gatewatching can largely focus of the republishing, publicizing, contextualization and curation of existing material rather than the development of substantial new journalistic content. AnonNews is a subset of Anonymous and has over 1 million followers. One challenge that Anonymous faces is the amount of comments and traffic on their website. Mainstream journalism has frames based on the media outlet they work for. Anonymous can cover almost everything and anything. Their followers are dedicated and search out for the information they are looking to hear. These forces can be mutually conflicting because it allows the freedom of content however it reemphasizes the message that people will continually read what they want to read when they want to read it. Audience members will continually have the power. So a website constructed by the audience is an incredible concept and I believe the future of journalism.