The mass media thrives upon selling their stories and what they believe to be the truth to as many as possible worldwide. It’s because of this need to be popular that the media focuses on stories that are current, interesting and relevant. Gibson (2009) believes that ‘dumbing down’ of media, particularly news content, has both trivialised and tarnished the practice of politics in the public mind. Instead of covering important issues, current news content reporting on politics concentrates on the competitive, scandalous and personality-led aspects of politics.
Media ownership is becoming increasingly important as it has the potential to limit the freedom of expression. The owner of a media outlet has the power to determine what stories, issues and views are being distributed to mass audiences. In Australia the media ownership is one of the most concentrated in the world. As media outlets worldwide are being sold to media moguls, audiences are being provided with less voices and opinions and more homogenised viewpoints. The mainstream media therefore has the power to influence their consumers as they are presenting homogenised views across multiple outlets. This essentially is a way of shaping their views and assisting to decide where they stand in regards to a particular issue, such as who to vote for in the upcoming election.
The Internet in particular has assisted in the emergence of alternative media, which provide a variety of different perspectives and opinions to consumers worldwide. Alternative news sites, such as blogs, break stories that the mainstream media wouldn’t dare tap into. This sense of convergence has also altered the way we as a generation participate in politics, particularly on social media. Instead of rallying and protesting for something we strongly believe in, Gen Y now utilises the Internet to show support by liking, commenting and sharing online posts. This sense of ‘clicktivism’ revolves around using the power of digital media to bring social change and promote activism.