Staging is the process where news corporations decide what should be made public and how. This process is not unique to how news was delivered 50 years ago or how news is delivered today. However, what is different is how people are accessing this information.
I talk a lot about Digg on this blog. It just seems like a great example for new media in several respects. This time, I will actually be talking about the content of Digg: the news stories themselves. Even though most of the stories are something to the effect of, “lawlz @ this [PIC],” there are some stories that would also make headlines on an evening news show. For example, the top dugg story in the last year is the death of Michael Jackson, a story that received plenty of coverage from network news, cable news, newspapers, etc. When a user clicks on the story, they are directed to a story by TMZ.
What separates Digg as a new medium is the ability to thread comments and “digg” stories up and down. Upon hearing this news, people certainly react differently. To have the privilege to voice opinions (to a certain extent) is a great addition to old media. However, think about what the user is seeing aside from the comments. The user is directed to a TMZ story. Therefore, a writer, hired by TMZ wrote this article, which was then edited by an editor also hired by TMZ. The user is merely reading a message that was produced by a company, rather than an anonymous contributor. In this respect, news hasn’t changed at all. The consumer is being a fed a message that was specifically design to be consumed. On top of that, TMZ, along with many other news corporations, decide which stories to publish and which to ignore. I believe that this has led to the compartmentalization of news in new media.
The news as consumed in new media has become more segregated. I believe that my peers and I consume more information. This however does not imply an increase in intake of information. We are subject to hundreds, sometimes thousands of advertisements per day. We eventually become numb to these advertisements and ignore them. A similar situation occurs with news. Our generation gets pommeled with news headlines on iGoogle, GMail Web Links, MSN’s Homepage, Yahoo’s Homepage. Hardly anyone reads stories after seeing headlines anymore. What intrigues me is how college undergrads are reading stories. From my experience, I see a lot of people using a RSS feed aggregator like Google Reader to read stories. This format allows users to subscribe to news feeds in which they are expressly interested. I believe that college undergrads are taking in about the same amount of information. However, this information has been sorted, organized, and displayed in a more customizable way to fit the consumer’s interests.