The public sphere is a place where discussions about information, events and people’s thoughts can take place. Jürgen Habermas first coined the term in his book “The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere,” and he has been criticised for idealizing the bourgeois conception which brackets out inequalities of gender and class. He discovered the first emergence of the public sphere took place in 18th century coffee houses, where everyone present partook in discussion (McGuigan, 2005).
From then until now the public sphere has changed dramatically with the introduction of the internet, we don’t need to be physically present to engage in the public sphere anymore. You just need to look at your facebook feed, or twitter or any blog site to see how people are participating in the public sphere. I find it exciting that the public sphere is a lot more equal now that anyone who has access to the internet can join in by gaining information and sharing news and opinions so easily and on a global scale.
Journalism is now blending into this public sphere. In the Berkowitz reading for this week he writes about how what defines journalism is now unclear, because now media audiences are the ones making the decision of what they interpret journalism as. Someone could think this blog is journalism, or the comments discussing a news story is journalism. This causes audiences to shrink in regards to the intake of conventional journalism as they have substituted it with other means.
McGuigan, Jim, 2005, The cultural public sphere, Cultural Studies, 8:4, pp. 427–443
Berkowitz, Dan, 2009, “Journalism in the broader cultural Mediascape,”Journalism, Vol. 10(3): 290–292