Computer-Assisted Reporting

Computer-Assisted Reporting

Computer-Assisted Reporting

Computer-Assisted Reporting

Synopsis

Reporters in the newsroom are becoming more involved in computer-assisted reporting and online news research than ever before. This edition introduces readers to computer-assisted reporting and to describe how leading journalists are using personal computers for news gathering in modern print, broadcast, and online newsrooms. It provides a thorough discussion of technology and its applications to news reporting.

Computer Assisted Reporting focuses on the computerization of newsgathering, highlighting the fact that the computer assists journalists by making writing easier, and also makes gathering and organizing information more efficient. As it begins, the book demonstrates methods for journalists to get more from their computers, such as data retrieval, data analysis, information storage, and dissemination of that information in both processed and unprocessed forms. It concludes with a refined proposal, originally proposed in the first edition, for five stages for development of computer literacy in the newsroom.

Excerpt

You probably know something about Bill Gates, Microsoft's highly visible chairman. But what do you know about Les Alberthal, Jim Barksdale, Eric Benhamou, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, Louis Gerstner, or Andrew Grove? They are some of the people who have been labeled as leaders of the information age by CIO magazine (Lundberg, 1997). They head up, respectively, Electronic Data Systems, Netscape Communications, 3Com, Dell Computer, Oracle, IBM, and Intel.

What do you know about Philip Meyer, Nora Paul, Neill Borowski, Bill Dedman, Brant Houston, Elliot Jaspin, Shawn McIntosh, Dan Gillmor, George Landau, Penny Loeb, Elizabeth Marshak, Pat Stith, Steve Ross, or Stephen Doig? These individuals are leaders of a part of journalism's own information age known as computer-assisted reporting (CAR). You will come across their names and roles in CAR often in this book.

For someone who has followed the use of computers in newsrooms since they came into the newspaper production process in the early 1970s, the spurt in growth of use in newsgathering remains impressive. The elements were right: Personal computers appeared in the 1980s and gradually became more powerful, and software became more capable of dealing with tasks of information processing. And they got cheaper.

The explosiveness of the World Wide Web has been documented in many places. The online information world has become a valuable part of many people's lives, including journalists. But many people remain surprised at the amount of growth and continuously increasing use of databases by journalists today. It will not take much longer, but early into the new century, journalism will hardly resemble what it did even a . . .

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