London Riots

The London riots broke out on the 6th of August 2011. It started from a peaceful protest for Mark Duggan. He was shot on August 4th 2011 by police who were trying to arrest him. The riots spread throughout London, then to other locations in England such as Bristol, Birmingham and Liverpool. In the end over 3000 people were arrested, and there was around £200 million damage that has been caused because of the rioting. It has been said that Black Berry messenger played a role in the spreading of the rioting. Individuals were posting when and where to riot, and encouraging stealing and violence. Rioters were organising themselves using the mobile messaging service, so there were requests to get the service shut down temporarily. Other social media such as Twitter and Facebook were also used as tools for the rioters to communicate in Also, Citizen Journalism has been used as evidence in a court case that relates to riots. Ian Tomlinson was a homeless newspaper seller, who happened to be walking in the streets during the G20 Riots. He was innocently passing a police officer with his hands in his pockets and no intention of causing any trouble at all, when the policeman shoved and pushed Ian to the ground for no reason. Moments later Ian died. The policeman’s actions towards Ian was caught on film and sent in to the guardian, which then reported the story. If it wasn’t for a member of the public who recorded what happened, there probably wouldn’t have been a story in the news about it. Even if there was, there would have been no hard evidence. But thanks to citizen journalism the Police Officer has been brought to justice. New media such as the internet shone a different light to the London riots. We did get coverage from news stations with their professional reporters, but citizen journalists were distributing footage to the newspapers and news programmes which their crew wouldn’t be able to get. This was probably because by the time the crew set up their equipment they would have missed spur of the moment antics, and it would have been too dangerous to take expensive equipment into an area where people are stealing. The public could record what was going on in the heart of the action and the photos and videos shown by news co-operations around the country. This is a perfect example how old media and new media can work together. The old media need stories and footage to broadcast and can rely on members of the public to be the main source of that. Blogging plays a crucial role in the news of today, as certain individuals may want to read about particular stories that wouldn’t be covered on the television. Bloggers are mostly amateur reporters, this means that absolutely anyone can report about anything they wish. This is making new audiences with new tastes for alternative stories. Old Media and professional reporters feel threatened by this as they could lose their audience and business to people who aren’t trained and aren’t paid as much to talk about the same subjects.

Phone Hacking Scandal

Recently the news has been filled with stories of phone hacking. Phone hacking is when somebody illegally listens to another person’s voicemail without their consent using equipment or software to gain access to their voicemail service.

Traditional and old media such as newspapers are now using phone hacking as a form of getting stories but they have been frowned upon for breaking the law. However even though Newspapers are a type of old media they hold so much power across the country. They have used this to their advantage as individuals working for the News of the World admitted that they bribed police officers for information they could use for a story.

A number of celebrities have had their phones hacked such as Hugh Grant, Sienna Miller and Paul Gascoigne. It’s not just celebrities that the newspapers were hacking to find stories. Victims of the 7/7 London bombing attacks and victims of dead soldier’s families mobiles have been hacked.  It has also been known that the phone of Milly Dowler was hacked. The News of the World hired private detectives to hack into her voice mail on her mobile. They deleted messages, which gave false hope to the police, but more importantly, to the family. They thought she was still alive since she was supposedly on her phone.

Rebecca Brooks was the News of the World’s editor at the time of when Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked. Because of her role in publishing the story, she felt responsible and resigned to show how sorry she was. She was arrested for a suspicion of corruption however she wasn’t charged with anything.

I think the main reason that News international resulted to phone hacking for stories is because New Media is slowly becoming more popular than Old media, as it is easier to retrieve, cheaper and easier to consume. For example, an individual can easily read a online report of a story rather than go outside into a shop and purchase a newspaper, when they can read it at home for free. With television, you don’t have to be sat watching it, you can have it on in the backround when you are busy doing something else. Some people may argue that this would be the same as listening to the radio, however not many homes own a radio in this day and age. The number of televisions owned in the United Kingdom has risen dramatically over the past decade. http://www.barb.co.uk/facts/tv-ownership-private?_s=4

I think the newspapers have hacked phones to get more stories to make the newspapers more interesting as people now rely on new media such as the internet to get their stories. Also there is a lot of competition in the industry to get stories, so phone hacking was a new way of getting material to report about. Not only has it lured the public into reading about the stories that resulted from hacking phones, the phone hacking scandal has been talked about and debated over for months. However people have lost their jobs since the News of the world stopped publishing and now the main culprit of the phone hacking has finally been shut down.