The interface of many public news sources are designed to interact with the speed of internet. Think of the Facebook feed that is continuously updated with new information. In so the active audience, without being interfered with, can play with the role of the journalist. You search, read and connect information without the obligation to the truth that journalists have, as long as the content fits you. In so the journalist who normally verifies what has happened and what has not is erased by these types of interfaces. These abilities of interfaces are the strategies we discussed before. These strategies are being applied, in order to create an design-experience that legitimatizes the information and in so creates trust with the person who reads the story beyond its content. The ability to apply strategies by using the interface makes way for the possibility to mask the incorrect parts of the content through for instance linguistics. It also gives the maker of the content the ability to reinforcing their statement via images, shown out of context. In so, the information source functions as if embedded in other conventional media. This signifies that the interface of ‘neutral’ media such as Facebook should teach web news users to read the news content in a certain state of mind, and to optimise their interaction with the media.
The way authoritative power is best achieved, is by means of acquiring a guarantee that the user can trust the quality of the journalist, editor and final editor, and the knowledge that commenters, who may amend the content. Our perception of truth is realised with the aid of the (fragments of) information that we have been presented with. The creator of the content can freely choose which information is convenient on which platform and in so control the perception of reality, perceived by the target audience they serve via the interface. The classical written press usually has a tendency to exercise a political slant, which colours their projected world view in a somewhat definitive way.
One interesting interface, though yet fairly undiscussed, are the interactive social platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, but also Instagram. These platforms create a social interaction by the use of text, imagery and video, with which information is shared: often without any verification of content. These social platforms are often used by the above-discussed news media as well. For example it is surprising that the Dutch broadcasting company NOS posts footage on their site and social profiles such as Instagram that show fragments of their broadcast which are underpinned with hashtags. They thereby enable the ability for users to implement their content, augmented with other images, presented for the same news events. The hashtags thereby result in a uncontrolled conglomerate of both amateur and professional imagery, that might either reinforce the significance of the given information, or show its default. The user might for instance objectively scroll through the testimonies of several people who were witness to a given event. These people are called “grassroots journalists”. The conventional platforms, such as for instance CNN, might employ these images on their own website, in order to increase the trust in their content.
Another new development is the emergence of the so-called animated “re-enactment” of events, by use of virtual reality and augmented space (see the Emblematic Group). The user is transformed into someone who is witnessing the event. This form of online imagery is a popular form of visualisation, but one that often has not been verified for the accuracy of its content. The image-based interface has created the need for new protocols for creators. Images function as hypertext in an article, that represents not just what is written down, but creates the opportunity for the animator to edit form and even content, presenting the occurrence without a predetermined beginning, middle or end. The final editing has become a personal, user-selected variation of content, created by his or her personally selected theme or conceptions. Thereby the narrative of the (suggestive) story isn’t fixed, and without any editorial process is not constricted to a predetermined order. The user can ingest the image in any shape or form he or she prefers, with a context that may be completely differentiated from the original image.
The strength of authoritative messages is embedded in these edited versions, with which these images may (often temporarily) dominate social news feeds. Of course this subverts the editorial process of the journalist, as it functions as a literary structure, which ensures the trustworthiness of the content for a default meaning. The images can change the content of the information regarding the occurrence, even as it might be stated in accompanying text, and in so completely transform the portent in which the original image was created. An analogy might be, that the information is represented in the form of a comic-book-like structure, in which occurring events are debated in a limited time frame.
The image has become the new form of iconic communication in this era, in which the visual context of the article is redefined into fast, interchangeable and trusted sources of information. This often happens in situations in which many of these images are just produced as a brief captation and by reason of someone sharing their feelings as a snapshot. One image can also confirm a very debatable subject, or even contain valuable information regarding a specific happening and regular journalists are not aware of. The conviction that these type of images can be used as a news medium is growing rapidly, as it is a fast, uncensored and anonymous way of communicating. The flipside is that this anonymity removes the adherence to copyright law and, in doing so, it makes way for dis- and misinformation to occur. In so an image worthy of news has become an aesthetic representation of the person(s) sharing its content.