The internet has changed everything. Journalism, like every aspect of modern life, has been dramatically altered by the rise of the internet and the development of technology that has allowed the web to be conveniently accessed by anyone from anywhere at any time.
Back in the mid-2000s, it was accepted that print journalism was facing a period of uncertainty ahead. Physical sales were declining and more readers were turning to news online as an alternative to buying newspapers. This presented a challenge to newspapers. How could they monetise news when it was freely available on the net?
Some newspapers have since introduced paywalls to their websites. To access online content from newspapers such as The Times and The Sun, readers now need to pay a monthly subscription fee. Other newspapers, such as The Independent, remain free to access online at the time of writing. It remains to be seen whether these paywalls are effective in encouraging readers to pay for content or whether it will drive them away to other free news resources.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to the mainstream media in the digital age is that information previously only available to journalists, such as news wires, can be now accessed by the general public. Citizen journalism is booming because the internet is a forum where opinions can be freely shared. A platform for points of view is no longer the preserve of employed columnists, anyone who can write, can air their thoughts to an audience online.
Alternative news sites, such as Democracy Now and Alternet have also appeared in reaction to the corporate corruption of the mainstream media. These sites feature news untainted by profit-making agenda and a return to the principles of objective reporting.