Barger and Barney (2004) discussed the relationship among journalists, citizens, and opinion leaders. One perspective that interests me so much and makes me want to discuss is that “journalists must be open to and seek input from citizens who have a real stake in the issues being discussed, not merely consulting experts and spokespeople who have become the standard sources of conventional wisdom” (Barger and Barney, 2004, p.198).
Personally, ss for normal situation, this standpoint seems to be absolutely right, however, in some situations, keeping norm may cause a dilemma. Taking 9/11 as an example, for emergency events like this, as the point in the How the MASS MEDIA Really Work, the author asserts that all news has implication for social control, especially when a social system is threatened. As for author’s point, it was because journalistic norms stipulate that they must rely on authorities or elites for more detailed information. While if the elites select not telling the truth or mislead the public, news media would become their accomplices unknowingly. Even if the authorities tell the truth, as journalists’ angle, the truth is given rather than found by themselves. Their perspectives actually are controlled by opinion leaders in these situations. And that’s what I’d like to discuss with you. On the one hand, journalists should deliver truth to the citizens, and citizens should participate in if journalists want to find out the truth. On the other hand, pursuing the truth always needs amounts of time, while when an emergency event like 9/11 happens, citizens want to know the truth as quick as they can. So maybe the only way for journalists to obtain the truth is to receive information from people who should be dependable, while no one can ensure these people(opinion leaders) never lie.
Nevertheless, with the development of the technology, this problem may be solved one day. Ekström (2008) indicated that “new communication technologies have also opened up new forms of public orientation, an explosion of public talk, a rich and intensified public debate in the form of blogging, cultural jamming, campaigning, cyberprotesting and file sharing that are of political significance” (Ekström, 2008, p.48). In my own perspective, while the similar standpoints can be found in the article Reevaluating the End of Mass of Communication, the appearance of social media like blog totally change the role of public. Not only be consumers that received information from journalists, they can also be producers at the same time. Therefore, personally, when an emergency event happens in the future, the public can not only hear truth from the media, from the elites, they will also have chance receive it from an individual person, or they can be the one who posts the news. And that will benefit democratic society.