A media system based on a small number of sources, extremely hierarchical and mainly targeting a passive mass audience, has evolved towards a context where the number of media has exponentially multiplied, audiences are highly fragmented and increasingly active, with almost endless options for news consumption. This new scenario is described as a hybrid media system, where old and new media co-exist.
The first great transformation in the hybrid media system has been the confluence of a great number of actors able to generate information. The second great transformation in the hybrid media system is the empowerment of audiences. Citizens are now ready and able to generate content on an unpreceded scale, especially via social networks.
Nevertheless, the research carried out so far shows that the number of citizens who produce news or contents related to public affairs is reduced. Audiences continue to grant journalists and media the role of primary gatekeepers on the news agenda. However, they also demand to be involved and interact with the content produced by the media and journalists. The spaces for user participation created by online media and social networking platforms constitute public spaces in which citizens can share information, express their opinions and react to the opinions of others.
In a hybrid media system scenario, audiences have become active, and their voice is now more powerful. This book tries to analyze this phenomenon from multiple perspectives.