New Media And The Sunflower Movement

New Media And The Sunflower Movement

Under conditions of "media monopoly", new media became a crucial means for activists to spread information and educate themselves

New media (新媒體) played an important role in knitting together the Sunflower Movement. Namely, as a result of “media monopoly,” with Taiwanese media outlets bought up by Chinese capital, news sources in Taiwan came to become increasingly biased in reporting from pro-China viewpoints.

As a result, young people turned towards their own media outlets, independent ventures which often operated with little funding if at all, and whose staff were oftentimes volunteers. The fact that these were largely non-commercial ventures or news outlets with crowdsourced funding, meant that they could be objective in their news reporting and report on the vital news stories which mainstream media was not reporting on. New media sometimes blends on the verge of citizen journalism, then, even if new media could be surprisingly professional. New media often also included discussion platforms of public opinion.

Prominent outlets included PeoPo, NewTalk (新頭殻), Coolloud (苦勞), Thinking Taiwan (想想台灣), Who Governs TW  (菜市場政治學), and other platforms, as well as independent media outlets such as Storm Media, or websites which compile the output of new media outlets such as The News Lens (關鍵評論). A particular flourishing of new media and the establishment of many new outlets took place after the Sunflower Movement, with the formation of Initium Media (端傳媒), The Reporter (報導者), Events In Focus (焦點事件), Up Media (上報), Mirror Media (鏡週刊), Translocal (串樓口), the English language edition of Thinking Taiwan (想想台灣), New Bloom (破土), and other platforms, although many have expressed doubt about the sustainability of these platforms in the long run.

As members of “activist subculture” got their news from “new media” outlets, this was a significant factor in developing political consensus among participants in activist culture, and shaping the way in which youth activists thought about political events. However, as might be expected, new media outlets sometimes had to struggle with their lack of traditional journalist training as well as their lack of resources. The NewseForum platform founded in the midst of the movement can be seen as a “new media” outlet that emerged directly from the movement itself.


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