Is this the future of news? An examination of Samoa Topix
Kenix, L. J.
News in general still relies upon the ethical norms of traditionally responsible news values, such as balance, fairness and objectivity. However, recent research has found that mainstream newspapers are adapting to how readers now wish to engage with the news online – encouraging citizen journalism and commentary to "construct a more pluralist and democratic debate about matters of public interest" (Franklin, 2008, p. 631). Some have argued that by adopting tenets of public journalism, mainstream news media are promoting democratic ideals and embracing what have historically been viewed as alternative media practices. This research aims to examine how one particular example from the global Topix news organization creates and disseminates its news online. Topix makes an impressively bold statement on their website that they have "combined the best technology with the strongest local participation to create the best destination for news and discussion. By giving everyone access to the tools to talk – and an audience to listen – Topix redefines what it means to make the news" (About Topix, 2011). Samoa Topix claims to be a "leading news community", "continually updated", with "thousands of sources" that gives "everyone access," but how are these transparent and pluralistic claims supported by reality on their web site and what can this case study tell us about journalism in the 21st century?