The Troubles of Journalism: A Critical Look at What's Right and Wrong with the Press

By William A. Hachten | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 13
News on the Internet

Today, having reached the age of 21, the personal computer is only now beginning to reveal its true value and greatest potential, not as an engine for crunching numbers and processing words, but rather as a communication device that lets people share ideas freely on a global network.

-- Peter H. Lewis ( 1996)

In this latest facet of the ongoing information revolution, millions of personal computers are connected by the Internet and other computer networks and have started a global revolution in business and interpersonal communications. The personal computer today functions as a combination personal printing press, radio, telephone, post office, and television set. Lewis ( 1996) argued that the computer may not replace any of these media, which are, of course, heavily involved in journalism. Still, the Internet has the potential to transcend them all, providing not just one-to-one communications, or one to many, but the creation of whole new communities of people sharing ideas and interests regardless of where they live.

The stunning possibilities of the Internet for journalism and the news business are somewhat obvious. Publishers, broadcasters, and journalists are aware of this explosive information revolution and believe they should be involved. However, neither they, nor anyone else, seem to know where this brave new world of communication is headed. (A few years ago, no one had foreseen the potential of the Internet.)

No consensus exists as to when and how journalism as we know it will get involved and be changed by the Internet, but no one doubts that

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