Written by Fikri Ajlan

In the modern advancement of technology today, internet plays a major role in our lives in many aspects. It give us the unlimited access of information and it brings a lot of advantages such as seeking information for our assignments, bettering our lifestyles and gaining relevant knowledge. Same goes with journalism, we used to read or watch news story on television and newspapers but as time passing by, online journalism has emerged and it has bring a whole new perspective of journalism.

New media bring with them new opportunities for news organizations to participate in unique storytelling experiences and audience engagement. The interactive nature of these new information and communication technologies (ICTs) has challenged news organizations to rethink their traditional journalism roles and practices (Chung, 2008).


Image credit: Stacksocial Image source


Malaysia has numerous publications and newspapers such as Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, Sinar Harian (and many mores) and to keep up with the current trend of technology, they have created their own online platforms and come up with their own target audiences. These online platforms have proven to be one of the main sources for news story because accessibility of the platforms. Not to forget, new news online portal such as Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider have also established because the amount of internet users keep increasing year by year.

The existence of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twiiter and Youtube have opened up many possibilities in which sharing opinion can be done in a broaden audiences (as anything on the Internet can go viral) moreover when the news story is linked between any of them. On the other hand, social networking sites (SNS) has become a huge phenomenal in Malaysia and almost every internet users have their own SNS. Compared to before, our ancestors didn’t have this advantage to voice out their opinion freely and vastly, so through SNS, we can share our opinions and use it as a medium of discussion as it is more efficient and people (sometimes, even the authorities) seems to take more notes when something being posted on social media. SNS can be a very good and safe medium as long as it’s safely used by everyone.

On September 16 2016, a video of a schoolboy being violently assaulted has gone viral on social media and the terrible part about that video is that instead of helping the victim, the other classmates were seen rooting for the bully. In the two-and-a-half-minute clip, we can see the victim was punched, kicked, slapped and had a plastic chair thrown at him as well as put in a chokehold in a classroom. Some of the classmates sat around and watched the fight, while some were seen recorded the intense brawl on their smartphones.

Most of the netizens were left to frustration and angered by the video and questioned the whereabouts of the teachers. The video has received over 90,000 views and over 5,000 shares since it was uploaded.Based on the statement given from Bukit Aman spokesperson,the incident took place at a school in Putatan, Sabah and the victim’s father had lodged a police report on September 6.

On the other hand, due to the power of social media and instantaneous response from the users, it has proven that it could help in fasten the work process for the police. Based on the article posted by FreeMalaysiaToday on October 25 2015 titled “Two nabbed after snatch theft video goes viral”, two brothers were arrested in Kampung Rantau Panjang, Klang, for an alleged snatch theft involving a 56-year-old lady after the recording of the closed circuit television on the incident was widely spread on social media.

Huffington Post is one of the biggest online news portals in America and I have came across a lot of social media-related news story.  One of them which was posted 13 April 2016, titled “You Are Special’: Judge’s Emotional Speech To Troubled Teens Brings Courtroom To Tears” tells about a County Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin in which her speech has gone viral while speaking to the group of youngsters as part of “Consider the Consequences,” a program organized by the local sheriff’s office in reaching young people who’ve had a history of discipline problems or crime.

Another article came into light when Joe Liu was photographed walking in soaked office attire while his umbrella protected his small son from the pouring rain. The picture, posted across SNS with the headline “Dads,” quickly went viral in the U.S. as well as in Liu’s origin native, China. Liu aka “Umbrella Dad,” is a former diplomat who currently works on Wall Street where he leaves his office at 5pm every day to pick up his son, Rhodes in Flushing.

Due to his recent fame (thanks to social media), Liu has set up Facebook and Twitter accounts for “Umbrella Dad,” by posting articles relating to education and parenting. But that is not the main reason for the webpages as his ultimate goal is to use media exposure as a platform to set up a charity to help children in China, particularly in the rural areas.

In conclusion, from what I’ve read from both local and international coverages regarding social media, I would say that there are a bit of differences on how Malaysian media and American media highlight the importance of social media.


Image credit: Image source


For example, the portrayal of social media news story in Malaysia is more on how the users interacted with each other on virtual space and how social media is fully utilized by Malaysians. The writer usually put users’ comments and thoughts in the article and how the story can bring everyone together in solving the issue. Whereas in Huffington Post, the social media news story is more about telling the story itself in hopes it can catch the readers’ eyes and ears, and somehow create a sense of empathy to the audiences. They usually use a lot of emotion when it comes to writing a news story that related to social media.

Both local and international newspapers seem to acknowledge the power of social media and as long as the journalism industry and we as the users know how to benefits the usage from SNS, it forever will be a powerful tool in discussing, exchanging and spreading information and awareness about anything.



Chung. D. S. (2008). News now: journalism in the online environment. New Media and     Society.Vol10(2):345–352. 10.1177/1461444807086478

FMT. (2016, September 6). Boy beaten, slapped while classmates cheer on.  Retrieved November 13 from Free Malaysia Today.

FMT. (2016, October 25). Two nabbed after snatch theft video goes viral. Retrieved November 13 from Free Malaysia Today.

Mosbergen.D.(2016, April 13.  You Are Special’: Judge’s Emotional Speech To Troubled Teens Brings Courtroom To Tears.  Retrieved November 13 from Huffington Post.

Vale. P. (2016, April 19) . How The ‘Umbrella Dad’ Is Using His Viral Fame For Good. Retrieved November 13 from Huffington Post.