Journalism in the Digital Age

by Péter Bajomi-Lázár, Budapest.   Students of normative theories of media performance often ask the question of what the job of journalists is in the Digital Age. The most important problem to date, when social media platforms reach literally billions of people, is disintermediation, i.e., the declining role of journalists when it comes to gate-keeping and moderating content. Traditional elites have lost control over huge parts of mass communication. Facebook, Twitter and other platforms often deliver fake news stories, conspiracy theories and hate speech. It is perhaps more than a coincidence that the 2010s evinced increased political polarisation, which yielded, toward the middle of the decade, Brexit in the UK, the electoral victory of Trump in the US, and the rise of populist political leaders all over the world (cf. Chadwick 2017). What role have media played in these unwelcome processes? And what can professional journalists do to counter them?             The reasons behind political polarisation and the rise of populism are manifold. Perhaps most importantly, they are rooted in the economic crises that have cyclically emerged since…

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