Panel discussion during the Oxford Social Media Convention 2008 on whether social media necessarily threaten traditional news media, and what, if anything they may have to offer in return.
Among the traditional media, blogs and other contributions to citizen journalism have for a long time been regarded as posing a significant threat to quality news reporting, whilst the global recession has shown that the threatened failure of high quality local and regional media outlets was not a groundless fear. Whilst some of the most successful social media sites are professional media productions such as CNNs Twitter news feed and the Huffington Post, many critics of social media now fear that the collapse of traditional business models will see a real decline in the depth and quality of news reporting, particularly at the local level. On the other hand, blogs and social media are seen as potentially democratising the production of news, enabling fast, first-hand reporting often in areas where traditional media face political or practical restrictions. This panel session will consider whether social media necessarily threaten traditional news media, and what, if anything they may have to offer in return.