Mohammad Mesawa 1005899

The online news revolution

THORNBURG, R. 2011. Producing online news. Washington, DC: CQ Press

In response to the rise of online news and the present crisis within professional journalism, this textbook is a training manual specifically written for students of online journalism. It is a structured course covering various on-line journalistic skills and techniques such as editing, layout, headlines, articles, multimedia reporting and data use etc.

Of particular relevance for my essay is chapter 1 because this gives a useful overview of the current situation of online news, especially with regards to the increasing importance of the amateur journalist. Furthermore, online journalism is neatly assessed via the three pillars of "Multimedia" (including convergence/integration of multimedia), "Interactive" (the combining of journalists and the audience through discussion boards, forums, live chat, Facebook, Twitter and blogs etc) and "On-demand" (the flexible availability of news at anytime and anywhere due to laptops, mobile phones, ipods and hyperlinks etc). Also, in chapter 3 there are some useful, up-to-data statistics regarding the American online audience and chapter 11 contains good discussions on the importance of interactivity with the audience in 21st century journalism.

Throughout, there are many useful internet news articles/images and practical data in graphs, charts and tables. All information being up-to-data (2011) with the use of numerous real-life example and situations that the reader can relate to. Furthermore, technical terms are printed in bold text and are explained in straightforward English. The overall result is a book that is interesting, easy to read, relevant and informative.

MEIKLE, G. And G. REDDEN. (eds). 2011.News online. Britain: CPI Antony Rowe

Under the theme of "transformations and continues" this is an up-to-date (2011) assessment of the online news revolution and its impact upon professional journalism and all aspects of the news industry. Interestingly, the book analyzes an array of opinions, possible solutions and various outcomes through specialist chapters that deal with different particular issues.

In detailing the online development of BBC News, the first chapter gives us an excellent role model for success, especially with regards to interactivity. However, of particular importance for my essay is the second chapter because this specifically deals with the online news revolution in the UK. The present crisis of confidence in UK journalism is discussed and there is a focus on the future potential of professional journalism, especially with regards to amateur journalism and celebrity culture. Similarly, chapters 9,10 and 12 also assess the possible future outcomes for professional journalism, whether good, bad or in co-existence with amateur journalism.

The third chapter is interesting because it does not entirely blame the internet and the online revolution for the crisis in professional journalism. Rather the claim is made that problems already existed in the industry back in the 1980s and 1990s, such as cutbacks, bias and lack of trust. Whereas the fifth chapter looks at emerging "news games" and their future potential for online news.

In criticism, this book contains no diagrams, images, graphs or data etc. However it does address the main issues, is new, relevant and informative.

ALLAN, S. 2006. Online news. England: Open University Press

This is a book that examines the actual reporting of various incidents in recent history. The focus being upon the online news coverage of major events such as September 11, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the London bombings and Hurricane Katrina etc.

Throughout the book, the author concentrates his attention upon the rising significance of the amateur journalist. He discusses their emergence, impact and relevance, whilst also identifying problem areas such as unreliable sources, liars and hoaxers. At the same time the author is highly critical of traditional "helicopter" journalism that does not give balance to the reality of catastrophic events.

Of special interest to my essay is the analysis of amateur journalism in offering first-hand accounts, mobile telephone footage, digital photographs and video recordings etc, combined with blogging and means of citizen news distribution.

On the negative side, the book was published in 2006 and therefore is already out-of-date in such a fast-moving industry. Hence its focus upon the emergence of amateur journalism, without offering practical solutions for the future of online news and not making useful forecasts that could be of real benefit. Furthermore there are no online images, diagrams, graphs or charts etc that would have given depth to the study.

Generally, the book gives us a useful snapshot of journalistic worries and concerns in 2006.

BOCZKOWSKI, P. 2005. Digitizing the News. New Baskerville: The MIT, Press

Boczkowski examines the historical development of online news in America from the 1980s and looks at how this development has evolved in order to yield insights into the construction products, and adoption of new media. He also analyzes the arrival of other new technologies in the the past, such as the invention of the press and the more recent use of facsimile, so as to attain various trends of behavior within the news industry.

Although the book is a little out-dated (2004-2005) Boczkowski is able to make some useful and accurate future predictions from his studies and surveys that are present throughout the various chapters. For example, he shows that those American dailies that would struggle on the web would be those who assumed it would bring an improved, but not drastically different, version of the present. When, infact, online news has become very different to the printed dailies. In addition, Boczkowski correctly identifies the dynamics of media convergence as an important "evolutionary" process for the development of online news, rather than it becoming a "revolutionary" process that drives all media into a common form. Furthermore, he shows that success for online paper is based upon limited alignment with the print newsroom, a flexible editorial function and respect for the public as being technically savvy.

In general, this book presents relevant analytical findings that focus attention upon the need for print papers to "contribute" to technical developments, rather than simply "reacting" to them.

SALWEN, M.B. GARRISON, B.And DRISCOLL, P.D., 2005.Online News and Public. New Jersey London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

This is a study of public and online news in America, based upon the analysis of various social surveys. Part 1 of the book is relevant for my essay because it assesses online news papers and online news trends, whereas part 2 of the book is mostly irrelevant since it focuses on online chats room. Although chapters 5 from parts 2 is useful as it looks at online news credibility.

Whilst the book's description of online news development from the 1980s will be mostly ignored, there are some other interesting points that are discussed in detail. For instance, it is mentioned that online newspapers do not want to compete against their print versions and lose readers, especially as there is little business sense in having separate online and print staff in competition. Rather, it is argued that online news would be most effective as a promotional vehicle for its more lucrative print versions. Indeed, the author sees this as the only option at present (2006) because of the lack of a successful economic model to emulate.

Generally, online newspapers struggle to generate profits and efforts to charge subscriptions for users have largely failed.

Interestingly there are some accurate future predictions, such as the increasing significance of media convergence, the need for new industry skills (working with text, images, audio and video etc) and likely concerns about the reliability of online news sources.

D'HAENENS, L., N. JANKOWSKI, AND A. HEUVELMAN. 2004 News in online and print newspapers: Differences in reader consumption and recall. journal of new media and society [online]. **6(3), [Accessed 28 April 2011] pp.363-381. Available from:

This journal was written at a time (2004) of widespread redundancies within journalism as well as cutbacks and a general atmosphere of uncertainty throughout the news industry. Therefore this study is relevant for my essay because it give insights from a recent past when many feared that printed news was soon to become obsolete. In particular, the research specifically assesses the ability of readers to consume, retain and news from both online and offline sources.

Carried out in response to a study by Tewksbury and Althaus ( that readers of online news are unable to understand and recall news as efficiently as readers of printed news) this experiment by Haenes, Jankwski and Heuvelman was made of the online and print versions of two newspapers in the Netherlands.

Brief and concise, this journal contains many good graphs and tables of data in order to give clarity to the overall findings. The concluding evidence showing that online readers do not consume and retain news differently from readers of the print versions. This having been a thorough survey of 151 participants who were asked to recall news stories they had read (online and offline) one week earlier.

To sum up, this experiment will be mentioned in my essay because it supports the idea of compatibility between online and offline news, rather than the concept of one or the other. Mention is also made of the future need to investigate the pleasure, or lack of, that readers experience whilst reading news, whether online or offline.

AHLERS, D. 2006. News consumption and the new electronic media. The Harvard International Journal Of Press/Politics [Online]. **11(1), [Accessed 29 April 2011], pp. 29-48. Available from:**

Similar to the previous journal, this American survey was also written at s time of growing apprehension and uncertainty within a print and television news media that was now facing a rapid increase in the expansion of online news (2006). In particular this study sought to analyse prediction of the demise of the traditional news media through its detailed and comprehensive set of surveys.

The author notes that we would normally expect a shift to new technology within the workings of a perfect market. That is, in a way similar to how the banks pushed their customers towards using ATMs and online banking, so we should be able to predict the abandoning of the traditional news media by both producers and users in favour of the lower cost/lower price alternative of online news. However, the findings showed that there was only 12% direct substation from offline to online news consumption. Furthermore, two-thirds of the US adult populations have not migrated to the consumption of online news.

Although this article is a little out-dated (2006) it is useful because it does show that the traditional news media is not about to collapse. Rather, a close analysis of the data shows that the majority of online news consumers use it as a complement to the traditional news media and not as a substitute. As of 2006, only small group are actually substituting offline news for online news.

MARCUS, J. AND RICE, X. 2011. Medialens's website [Online]. [Accessed 15 April 2011]. Available from:

At the heart of today's debate regarding the future of online and offline news is the controversial issue of amateur journalists, sometimes known as citizen journalists. Therefore this UK website is of particular interest in this regard because it has been formulated by people who are not employed by the professional news media. The site has existed since 2001 and claims to concentrate mainly on responding to questions from its readers, many of whom are said to be undergraduate and postgraduate students.

As a challenger to mainstream media, this site is highly critical of traditional news whom it accuses of bias, lies and propaganda in their reporting of national and international affairs. Therefore it is interesting to read the site;s articles on issues such as the civilian casualty figures in Iraq, dictatorship in Yemen, the war in Libya, the "tyranny" of corporate media monopoly and wikileaks etc. Interestingly, although the site approaches such that this of unrestricted, unanswerable coverage of events can lead to extremist or incorrect conclusions that may appear to the general public as fair, balanced reporting.

In general, these types of amateur journalists cannot be ignored from my essay because of their increasing significance, especially when websites such as this are very professional in appearance and contain links for forum, message board, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. In other words, they are technology savvy and expanding.


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