Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Electronic Journalism Reviews

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Electronic Journalism Reviews

Article excerpt

SINCE THE WORLD of cyberspace -- that wonderland of binary codes -- is increasingly a key link to all sorts of information and an important communications tool, it's not surprising to find journalists setting up shop along the emerging information superhighway.

So, where journalists go, can electronically produced, promoted, discussed and distributed journalism reviews be far behind? The answer is no.

Critiques, criticism, humor and insight are all part of the editorial mix of this new breed of cyber-journalism reviews.

The dominant trio of e-journalism reviews includes BONG!, the East Egg Harbor Review and Shop Talk, with each taking a different approach in style, content and tenor. For the most part, the newsstand of choice is the global network of computers known as the Internet.

BONG! takes an irreverent look at the newspaper industry, with quips, quotes and anecdotes from a variety of news, public relations and academic sources, who mail, fax and e-mail the information to Charles Stough, a veteran copy editor at the Dayton Daily News.

Stough started BONG!, which stands for Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild Newsletter, in 1988, as a way to battle what he perceived to be the growing influence and dominance of newspaper newsrooms by New Agetype reporters, who sip Perrier and wear Reebok's.

"It was a way to get revenge," said Stough.

BONG!, which began as a one-page humor review, made its debut on the New York Times News Service's "Smiles" file, now called NYTLite.

"I was sitting there on my night-shift copy desk seat, watching the committees doing everything, and quite a lot of it wrong, and it just struck me that there ought be a clique for crusty old floor spitters," said Stough, of the digital weekly.

At most, Stough thought a handful of like-minded souls would participate in the new venture, but to his surprise, BONG! took off. In addition to being distributed via the Times wire, it is made available to more than 750 subscribers who get it via electronic mail.

BONG! is also posted to an Internet Usenet news group called alt. journalism and also appears on a mailing and discussion list for journalists, called Computer Assisted Research and Reporting List.

Stough has established some running sections, such as the Comix Section, which chronicles the adventures of Herman "Speed" Graphic, ace photographer for the Chagrin Falls Commercial Scimitar, and his faithful companion, Typo the Wonder Dog.

Lately, an impromptu section called Perjoratives has cropped up, which includes a listing of less than flattering newspaper names. For example, some in the Carolina's refer to the Charlotte Observer as the Disturber and the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard Times is referred to as the Substandard-Times.

This new band of e-journal publishers agree that one of the main benefits of creating these cyberspace reviews is that it erases the need for printing presses, distribution and advertising.

Anyone with a simple text editor, a modem and an account on an on-line service, computer bulletin board or access to the Internet, can become an electronic publisher. …

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