Online Journalists Embrace New Marketing Function

By Brill, Ann M. | Newspaper Research Journal, Spring 2001 | Go to article overview

Online Journalists Embrace New Marketing Function

Brill, Ann M., Newspaper Research Journal

The Internet allows online journalists to post information almost as soon as they receive it. That rush to production has allowed rumor to pass as reporting and electronic processing to pass for editing. One of the most serious charges that can be leveled against any journalist is that he or she has violated journalistic values of accuracy, balance and perspective that are a part of the profession's socialization.(1) For the online journalist, the temptation to bypass traditional journalistic processes may be all the more tempting since they are thought to be "nerdy looking youngsters"(2) and more likely to weigh technology and marketing over journalism.(3)

The story of Matt Drudge "breaking" the story of the Clinton/Lewinsky affair focused the world's attention not only on Drudge but also on all journalism disseminated via the Internet. Salon's decision to publish a story about Sen. Henry Hyde's affair, 30 years after the fact, fueled speculation that online journalists were not only quick to publish, but also willing to disseminate a story rejected by traditional media as not newsworthy. And in the case of The Dallas Morning News, its web site caused the newspaper the embarrassment of disseminating false information, for which it later apologized.(4)

Drudge, Salon and the News' mistake aside, what are the journalistic values of those working in this new media environment? How do online journalists see themselves in relationship to traditional journalistic roles and functions? How fair are the characterizations of online journalists? Are they indeed younger, more concerned with technology than good journalism, and perhaps less ethical than their traditional media counterparts?

Little is known about these journalists. Only recently have attempts been made to form an organization of online journalists, the Online News Association. One of the organizers freely admits that his invitations to join were issued based on "who I knew and whose e-mail addresses I had in my address book."(5) Among the topics the group hopes to address is credibility of the online media. At the heart of that is, of course, the credibility of the journalists working in the new media. It stands to reason that the online media will reflect the values of those producing the content.(6) It, therefore, seems critical to study those journalists to learn not only who they are, but also what they believe is their role as journalists. There are about 1,000 online daily newspapers in the United States.(7) If they only had one employee each, that alone would constitute a large and influential group of journalists. In addition, the potential audience for online media grows each day, and it is currently estimated at nearly 378 million worldwide.(8)

Critics have expressed concern that cyberspace holds a host of problems and possibilities that journalists have not seen before.(9) The speed of dissemination, the worldwide audience, the possibilities for interactivity, competition from non-media companies and the increasing demand for profitability are changing the media environment,(10) How do online journalists view their roles and values in the midst of such a fast-paced and changing environment? Is the online environment more of an influence than the media and companies that employ these journalists? For example, do journalists employed by The New York Times Electronic Media Co. hold different views and values than those employed at the online site of the Naples Daily News?

This paper seeks to provide information and understanding about online media journalists. It examines what they say is important to them as journalists and compares their responses to studies of journalists working in traditional media. The categories established by Weaver and Wilhoit(11) of how journalists tend to view their roles serve as the base line for the study, but those studies occurred before the advent of the Internet and the journalists who now practice their trade on it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Online Journalists Embrace New Marketing Function


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.