Journalism has gradually grown form the simple tool of communication to the complex, influential and important tool of management in the contemporary age of governance. Journalists of the 21st century have been entrusted with the gate keeping role by the public. Unfortunately, they seem not to execute their mandate as entrusted by the general public. As a gatekeeper of the society, the media major role is to safeguard the interests of the public by exposing any schemes employed by those in authority to utilize public resources from their own egocentric gains (Kovach & Rosenstiel, n.d). The gatekeeper notion veers from defending the public interests in the 21st century to perpetrating individualistic ideologies made to profit those in power. Our media houses have hence been turned in to political objects of spreading rumor, malice, suspicion and propaganda. The civic responsibility and gatekeeper responsibilities maintained by the 2oth century media appears to have been lost in the political thicket of the 21st century.
The key question still remains; who is to take the sentry role of enlightening the public now that the 21st century has been transformed from the public watchdog entity to a strategic political tool. This article exposes the negative role that the modern media community is knowingly playing as they continue subjecting to the unscrupulous way of governance in the fear of closure or sanctions from the governments of the day (Kovach & Rosenstiel, n.d). The fault and reasonability does not however lie of politicians and journalists alone. There are massive conduits between the newsroom and the public and hence making the process of information dissemination quite problematic and to some extent obsolete. Emergence of new ways of information dissemination such as private internet based channels have attracted massive followers from the Y-generation. Mainstream media is no longer the ultimate control point of information dissemination.
Social networks and online based news platforms such YouTube can independently disseminate information from the source to the end user without necessarily using the main stream media. Take for instance the case of the American Presidential contest. President Obama successfully involved more than a billion voters through his YouTube channel in the exclusive absence of any media house (Kovach & Rosenstiel, n.d). This change in information dissemination has been established as a major challenge to mainstream media. However the mainstream media still holds a very important role even in this era. We live in an era of technology where the mainstream media has been hit by serious challenges from blogging, online news sources and an ignorant society.
The best thing of the contemporary mainstream media is that it has evolved from the lecture based type of disseminating information and adopted the dialogue fashion. We still need the mainstream media to handle the sensitive issues such as national security a role that this media community has claimed full responsibility. The gatekeeping role of the mainstream media can never be taken away in full closure. They however fail to provide the honest findings of their research in the fear of victimization. They wrongly over rely on the partisan type of news and use the universal language of English that is not always homogenous.
Modern mainstream media appears to consult the regime conservative sources and hence reporting propaganda, clues and rumors in the quest to safeguard the profit objectives of the owners. Profitability, dominance, influence and power are the key tenets of professional journalism being pursued in the modern day media. We must be honest that the coverage is not up to the required standards of even-handed reporting. The media operates in a critically subjective environment to those in authority. We are yet to answer two major questions. When shall the main stream media earn its exclusive autonomy of collecting and disseminating information? Why is everyone mad at the main stream media>
Kovach, B. & Rosenstiel, T. (nd). How to know what’s true in the age of informational overload. Bloomsbury. New York. Berlin. London.