Sharon Hartin Iorio
Wichita State University
For journalists and those who hope to be journalists in the 21st century, one thing is abundantly clear—this line of work is being transformed. Technological change has created a 24-hour news cycle where breaking news is reported around the clock, and shocking world events can be viewed almost at the instant they happen—then observed as they continue to develop. Myriad international sources disseminate social and political opinion to individuals who choose not only their mode of information delivery but the very nature of the information they receive. Yet, the most remarkable shift is not the astonishing pace of delivery or the capability of individuals to select the news they receive; the most significant development is the network of technologies that let individuals interact with people worldwide, more specifically, to interact with those who provide their news. Everyday people use newspaper call-in columns, Web sites, list serves, talk-radio, talk-television, and a host of other tools to connect with news media, and they do it every day.
The increasing accessibility to information, the speed of its delivery, and the individual's more active role in information exchange create a new dimension for journalism. Information is now so abundant and the world so interconnected that journalists must not only find new ways to provide analytical context for the growing onrush of information, they must learn to present the information in a mode that is not generalized or passive but is individualized and