My recent encounter with an international independent media outlet, OhmyNews, has challenged me to think differently about the journalism industry.
Growing up, it has always been know that professional writers, reporters, broadcasters and anchors report the news whether it is through newspapers or through television. Now, in today’s digital world of computers and technologies, new media has greatly shifted the definition of journalism, which now incorporates online media and digital reporting.
OhmyNews was founded in South Korea as an independent, online website for news. It was founded in 2000 by Oh Yeon Ho with the motto, “Every Citizen is a Reporter.” The outlet was responsible for changing the outcome of the nation’s election in 2002.
I think OhmyNews presents South Korean citizens with another alternative to receiving news. Rather than getting information from mainstream media, OhmyNews allows freelance, ordinary citizens to act as contributors to the site alongside some professional staff. The website provides readers with a wide range of topics to read about from personal anecdotes to hard news. OhmyNews is a website the emphasizes citizen journalism and allows for more accurate and fairness in reporting.
Independent media such as OhmyNews is growing in the journalism industry today because it provides a space for average citizens to converse and engage with each other. For example, through this website, the articles act as blog posts in which the writer has the ability to converse with the reader through the “comments” section. As a result, the reader is able to share with everyone else his/her thoughts and opinions, bringing in more perspectives to the issues being presented in the article. Through OhmyNews, there are a variety of topics covered because of the abundance of contributors to the site.
OhmyNews differs from mainstream media because it does not filter specific types of news, rather, it brings into conversation what people want to talk about. Without news outlets such as independent media, there is a one-way tunnel for reporting the news. With the existence of independent media, people can be more aware of the “other” news stories that are hidden by mainstream media. Often, as we have discussed in my “Independent Media” class, stories that are rejected by mainstream media outlets are published by independent media outlets because they are more willing to publish stories that would be criticized in mainstream media.