Journalism for the 21st Century: Online Information, Electronic Databases, and the News

Journalism for the 21st Century: Online Information, Electronic Databases, and the News

Journalism for the 21st Century: Online Information, Electronic Databases, and the News

Journalism for the 21st Century: Online Information, Electronic Databases, and the News

Synopsis

This is a book about the news--the way it is written and the forms it takes. It examines the relation between the content of public information and the potential affect of new technologies on the degree and type of information available in the public forum. Tom Koch uses concrete, casebook examples to demonstrate the degree to which news information can be changed through the efficient and cost effective application of online bibliographic resources accessed by personal computers.

Excerpt

This is a book about the news, the way it is written and the forms it takes. Its subject is online information services and how they will affect the narrative form of the individual news story as well as the general context of daily and weekly journalism. The central argument in this text is that the marriage of computers and online libraries creates a radically new technology that will fundamentally alter the relations between writer and news subject. News is used here as a symbol and, at times, a metaphor for the more complex topic of public information, its content and its diffusion. Daily and weekly news reports, disseminated in print and by broadcast are, after all, modern society's primary venue for public information. News is the essential source by which citizens acquire the data they need to make personal and communal choices. Thus, to the extent that an informed electorate is the keystone of a democratic system, any study of contemporary, periodic journalism's perceived strengths or inherent deficiencies will strike directly at the essential structure of North American society, politics, and culture.

What is of interest here is the degree to which contemporary news, and therefore public information in general, is limited by its traditional sources of information and restricted by historical definitions of data and narrative form. The issue is not one of "bad" reportage or "great" writing.

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