Competition for Public Influencer in the New Democratic Era: Online News Media Strategy in Monopolising Political Communication
The media or press is losing its monopoly over the dissemination of information between the public and political actors as communication becomes more personal (Chaffee and Metzger, 2001). Therefore, it could be assumed that the mainstream media is less influential in constructing public opinion, especially in determining public agendas through the news. This phenomenon invites debate about whether the media will continue to decline due to the loss of its function mass communication (Chaffee and Metzger, 2001) or it will be just ‘business as usual’ (Weimann et al, 2014). This paper adopts Bourdieu’s cultural production theory, the social theory of journalism and agenda-setting theory to understand the “struggle" of legacy media in maintaining their position in mass communication in Indonesia election 2017. Data is derived from published news, ethnographical studies of news-making practices and interviews with 30 news staff from three Indonesian online news outlets. It can be concluded that, firstly, journalists were dominant in determining agenda setting during the Indonesia elections in 2017. Secondly, journalists continue to influence the news agenda in the media by conducting traditional methods emphasizing skills, credibility, and journalistic ethics. Journalists are using new methods way to maintain their place in the status quo by engaging with social media to shape public opinion and via the certification of individual journalists and media organisation.
Keywords: political communication, the journalistic field, Indonesian journalism, cultural reproduction, media struggle, social theory of journalism, agenda-setting theory.