News and the Net/Digital Journalism: Emerging Media and the Changing Horizons of Journalism

By Papacharissi, Zizi | Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

News and the Net/Digital Journalism: Emerging Media and the Changing Horizons of Journalism


Papacharissi, Zizi, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator


Gunter, Barry (2003). News and the Net. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 224.

Kawamoto, K. (2003). Digital Journalism: Emerging Media and the Changing Horizons of Journalism. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp. 208.

Online publishing presents an opportunity that simultaneously enthuses and befuddles journalists, researchers, and audiences. The term itself, and others associated with it, like digital journalism, online journalism, or blogging, is broad enough to generate definitional uncertainty and spark excitement about the democratizing potential of information technologies. Kevin Kawamoto, in an edited collection of essays, and Barrie Gunter, in a volume on news and the Net, present several issues of concern to both producers and users of online news.

Early in Digital Journalism, Kawamoto acknowledges the difficulty in defining a concept that means "different things to different people," and defines digital journalism as "the use of digital technologies to research, produce, and deliver (or make accessible) news and information to an increasingly computer-literate audience." This definition is inclusive of both the breadth and limitations of digital journalism, in that it presents an information channel of immense versatility and promise that is mostly employed by a tech-savvy minority with access to high-speed Internet. It also allows Kawamoto to present a comprehensive perspective on online journalism, by covering the history of online journalism, the meanings and implications of convergence, new media and crisis coverage, digital photojournalism, satellite technology and digital news, activist online journalism, government and e-journalism, and alternatives to traditional journalism online. Moreover, the topic of online community resurfaces through all the issues, since it is challenging to discuss the promise of online news services without engaging a discussion of the communities that produce, consume, and circulate online coverage. This overlap between the research matters of online community and journalism prompts the question of whether these two could be viewed separately, and whether they in fact should be treated as distinct research matters. Not only are the historical courses of online community and online journalism parallel, they frequently cover the same territory of U.S. Internet development, tendencies, and tensions.

The extensive scope of this edited volume, along with the combination of academic and practitioner contributors, present the key assets of Digital Journalism. The collective perspective of noted journalists, photojournalists, and media scholars highlights both the theory and practice of online journalism. This text is useful to journalism or broadcast college students with an interest in digital media production, and presents an excellent resource for an introductory or intermediate course in online journalism. The lively tone, use of examples, and current references make this text appealing to both students and fans of online journalism. Specifically, Pavlik's account of online journalism and crisis coverage provides a useful overview of technologies that can be used to provide up-to-date coverage under circumstances of pressure and limited media access, but also addresses ethical questions that arise from the exploitation of such inventions, relating to individual privacy and news credibility. In addition, Meyer offers a personal narrative of the photojournalist's experience with digital media, which attests to the convenience, versatility, and immediacy of digital photography.

Gunter, in News and the Net, adds a different perspective on the use and relevance of online media, while examining the utility and consequences of online publishing for journalists, the media market, and the general public. This work is cognizant of both the social and informational promise of the Internet, and is contextualized within a growing tradition of research that addresses the use and promise of older and newer media. …

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