How vital are citizen journalists in our new media world?

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Nov 16, 2022

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This is a list of potential topics for your opinion writing assignment. The questions are included only as an example of the direction you might take each topic, but you are not expected to specifically address the questions. You may, however, use them to consider the larger topic and help you develop your own opinion on the topic.
Big tech companies such as Facebook/Google as media companies: Are they publishers, responsible for content, or are they merely platforms to share content? What’s their responsibility to truth and to society?
Use of new media to disrupt or change the democratic process: Should we be concerned by the strong influence of social media on politics?
Memes: The power to change minds or simply mindless content?
“Going viral”: Does the drive to go viral reduce the quality and value of content and ideas? Is “going viral” a symptom of a post-literate world?
Citizen journalists and the use of new media to share and shape a news story (e.g. citizen reporting during the Arab Spring, or the crisis in Venezuela in 2019): How vital are citizen journalists in our new media world? Are there potential problems with a reliance on citizen journalists reporting significant events?
Online “challenges” (e.g. the ice bucket challenge, Tide Pod challenge, Devious Licks challenge): Are these harmful or harmless? Do they have the potential to cause significant social change? Are they driven by a fear of missing out?
Cancel culture: To what extent is cancelling someone a valid response, and are there times when it is not appropriate? Who has control over such actions, and do all groups have an equal voice? How is cancelling used as a means of control?
Troll farms: Is this a worrying trend or overblown? Should governments do more to control this type of online activity? How might troll farms be used as replacement for governments’ espionage and conflict?
Social Activism/Clicktivism/Slacktivism: Does it change the world, or does it merely make people feel better because they “did” something?
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms to control user experience: Is this something to be feared or embraced?
Planned obsolescence of technology: How does this connect to environmental concerns? What is the consumer’s responsibility and how can they make changes?
Racism and prejudice in technology (e.g. AI, cultural values contained in technologies): What role does new media play in overcoming systemic racism and bias? Do citizens and media users have the ability to identify and control technology’s prejudices?
Deepfakes: In a world where seemingly everything can be faked, how can we identify the truth? How concerned should we be about deepfakes?
New media advertising strategies (e.g. difficulty differentiating between advertising/content, the use of persuasion techniques, privacy/tracking, etc.): Are you concerned about being the product and not just the consumer?
Digital colonialism: As corporations use the resources of the geographic South for their own growth, what responsibility do we have as new media users? Are the outcomes of digital colonialism essentially the same as other forms of colonialism? What is the connection between cryptocurrencies and digital colonialism?
Social media and mental health: Can new media be harnessed to improve mental health or will social media always negatively affect mental health? How are issues such as body image and self-confidence affected by social media?

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