Redefining the News Online

[A]t least two transformations appear to distinguish the production of new-media news from the typical case of print and broadcast media: The news seems to be shaped by greater and more varied groups of actors, and this places a premium on the practices that coordinate productive activities across these groups.

This, in turn, seems to influence the content and form of online news in three ways. The news moves from being mostly journalist-centered, communicated as a monologue, and primarily local, to also being increasingly audience-centered, part of multiple conversations, and micro-local.

In the online environment, a greater variety of groups of actors appear to be involved in, and have a more direct impact on, the production process than what is typically accounted for in studies of print and broadcast newsrooms. These studies have tended to focus on the work of editors and reporters. Based on the analysis presented in the previous chapters, it is reasonable to speculate that at least four additional groups of players may be having a growing degree of agency in new-media news production. —Pablo J. BoczkowskiRedefining the News Online  (OJR)

The “news world” is an interesting concept. I can’t help but think of virtual worlds…

Warning… if you are one of those whose eyes glaze over whenever a geek starts blathering about Star Trek, you might want to skip to next paragraph. Okay, are they gone now? Good. I always wondered why Star Trek: The Next Generation didn’t feature the Holodeck as a communications medium… Picard is being honored at a ceremony back on Earth, at which he is holographically present… perhaps a witness to a crime is prohibited from leaving her homeworld… or perhaps a race of aliens use facial expressions so different from ours that we can’t understand them without the holodeck’s mediation (though that would require the creation of alien physiognomy more complex than forehead bumps and splotches). I believe I saw an episode of Deep Space 9 in which Dax turned the captain’s image into an alien of some sort, but there it was presented as a clever trick (and of course was never again mentioned in any other episode when a similar deception would have helped).

We’re taught not to believe everything we hear, but it’s hard not to have intense emotional responses to complex multi-sensory stimuli — even when, intellectually, we know that what we’re seeing has been manipulated or even completely manufactured.

I’m thinking of this topic more than usual because the student paper which I advise has published its first online edition: Setonian Online.

Brian McCollum designed the site as part of an independent study. I’m sure he’ll welcome constructive comments.