Word of Mouse: Credibility, Journalism and Emerging Social Media

By Rory O’Connor

A paper by Rory O’Connor, fall 2008 fellow, explores the implications of our media and social-media saturated news environment.  Although unparalleled information access is empowering, it also presents its own unique set of issues and challenges, both to journalists and to society as a whole. Facing a virtual tsunami of unfiltered information, how can audiences be sure that the news and information they see and hear is true? Which reports and reporters can be trusted, and how can they be found amidst the clamor and clutter of “too much information?” O’Connor argues that “the breakdown in the relationship between journalists and the ‘people formerly known as the audience’” presents a serious social challenge. If people cannot ensure that they are receiving credible news and information, the ramifications for democracy, which depends on an active, informed citizenry, are enormous.

Download the paper (PDF).