The communications media have very rapidly integrated audience participation into their websites. The range of tools and platforms offered is very wide: evaluation of reports, commentaries on news items, the sending of news content in any format (text, audio, video, photos), surveys, etc. While these mechanisms enable citizens to raise their voices and make their opinions and denunciations known, for the media they form part of a strategy aimed at strengthening the brand, obtaining the loyalty of readers and generating traffic, as a path towards the economic profitability of the digital media.
During recent years we have witnessed an increase in the spaces for content elaborated by audiences in the news media, and a growing integration of such content in spaces that had until now been reserved for news professionals. Those changes introduce new patterns of communication and giving rise to new forms of creative expression, journalism and participation.
All of this has aroused the interest of researchers, and there are abundant studies on the presence of participatory mechanisms in the online media and the attitude of journalists towards participation. However, there are few academic contributions that have been centered on analyzing the quality of audience participation, a crucial aspect for evaluating the significance of user generated content and its contribution to the development of a more enriching public sphere
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