REVISITING PROFESSIONALISM IN THE ERA OF CURATION JOURNALISM AND NETWORKED COMMUNICATIONS
The freedom of expression and the public sphere are always become the main issues in the democracy. These issues might be the reason for the change in the development of the mass media industry. It is observed that the domination of mainstream media corporation as information distributors has been declining significantly. On the other hand, the audience who was considered as the passive group in the mass communication process has become more active and taken over the position. This change mainly appeared as a result of technological advancement that created the possibility for the public to be involved in the distribution of information.
The phenomenon creates blurriness regarding the relationship between the journalist, who usually is the leading player in the information dissemination business, and the audience. Because of the technology, the audience is now able to choose its news sources, to select the information, and even to publish its own stories. The condition forces mainstream media to embrace the development and widen the engagement with the public. One of the strategies is to apply an advanced format of reporting and news presentation so-called curation journalism. Curation journalism is one of the phenomena of contemporary media practice that relates to the public participation. It occurred at the time the media audience gained its chance to be more active in finding information and distributing their own news within the existence of social media. The development was so massive and inevitable, which eventually forced the media to embrace it by curating the scattered social media contents and make them as their news' materials. This method has promoted the audience into a different role not only as a reader but also as a stringer or field reporter. In some ways, the media seem to lose their authority by letting unprofessional people be their newsmakers. The condition then raises the question about the professionalism of the journalists in the era of networked communication.
This article discusses a study on the adjustment of journalistic professionalism to cope with the development of public participation. The study revisited the existing theories of professionalism and compared it with the current condition of media practices. It was done by applying descriptive qualitative method. The primary objective is to discuss the new concept of journalistic professionalism within the more active society. The methodology refers to literature review on conventional professionalism theories in general discussion as well as journalistic studies. This article compares what is stated in the traditional theories and the real situation in the journalistic practice, especially in the current online media industry and the development of the user-generated content (UGC) that related to the public participation in social media and curation activity. The study brings some example of how mainstream media embrace the public sphere by opening channels in which the audience can actively involve in news production.
Based on the analysis, it is clear that in the digital era, professionalism in journalism is not only related to the technological change. The development has also influenced the working culture that also, to some extent, changed the characteristic of the media institutions in which the journalist work. Regarding the change, this study finds that some significant arrangements need to be implemented, such as revising the journalistic code of conducts and adjusting the role of the journalist as the gatekeeper. The existing code of conducts that has become fundamental guidance for traditional journalists was mainly developed in the traditional journalistic culture in print media era. Therefore, the interactivity of the audience has not become an issue of concern. Consequently, the gatekeeper position was only looked like the role to select and filter news materials, which then put them together to support the media's agenda. These job descriptions are not suitable anymore with the condition of the active audience. The theories need to be revisited because journalists now are not only gathering information from the communities but also work together with the public and contextualized what people say on their own publications. In conclusion, journalists have to maintain their responsibility and accountability in the middle of the UGC’s development and public participation trends. Journalists need to clarify their position as professionals in the age of contemporary media.