Part IV of the book posits that new media are transforming the relationships that exist among news organizations, journalists, and their many publics, including audiences, advertisers, competitors, regulators, and news sources. Traditional news providers typically have served well-defined geographic communities. Local newspapers and local broadcasters served their local city, town, suburb, or regional market. National news providers served primarily a single country or extended region.
Today's online news operations may continue to serve local communities, but those that hope for eventual financial viability are retooling to serve much larger and geographically diverse communities of interest that may include local citizenry but also larger numbers who live well beyond the local or even national boundary. This shift brings with it profound implications not just for commerce and culture but for democracy, which in the United States has traditionally been based on geographic boundaries, with a corresponding news media system among whose primary responsibilities was the creation of a well-informed electorate.
Chapter 8 examines the redefinition of the news audiences, and chapter 9 outlines the emerging business models for online journalism.