José van Dyck, a professor of comparative media studies at University of Amsterdam, argues that social media have taken on the qualities of mass media. While social media platforms began with a promise of connectivity, independence and a restoration of the public sphere for users, the major platforms now are partners with established media and are driven by many of the same values. "Online socializing, as it now seems, is inimically mediated by a techno-economic logic anchored in the principles of popularity and winner-takes-all principles that enhance the pervasive logic of mass media instead of offering alternatives," she writes for the Oxford University Press blog.
On Friday, the Women's Media Center released its annual Status of Women in U.S. Media report, and the results do not demonstrate much advancement. Indeed, the percentage of women in U.S. newspaper newsrooms was the same in 2012 (36.9 per cent) as it was in 1999. Six online newsrooms studied were overwhelmingly male, and female participation in Sunday talk shows or roundtable discussions was quite low. The Center calls the gender gap a "crisis" in media.
The satirical site, The Onion, has expressed an apology for a Tweet during the Oscars that characterized Quvenzhané Wallis, the nine-year-old Academy Award actress nominee, with a vulgarity. The Tweet, taken down within an hour, prompted widespread outrage. The Onion's CEO called the Tweet a "senseless, humorless act" said it has tightened its procedures and disciplined those responsible. Andrew Beaujon of Poynter has a roundup of the issue.