The Internet, Mobile Media, and Journalism: Technologies of News in the 21st Century

Organizer: Holly Kruse, Rogers State University, USA.

Workshop Sponsor

Over the past several years, journalism has undergone profound changes as people seeking information increasingly turned to the internet and mobile apps for news and commentary. Some traditional news outlets, like the New York Times and the Times of London, have instituted paywalls to recoup lost sales revenue. Others, like the Christian Science Monitor, stopped publishing print editions altogether and now exist only online. Many journalists working in print media lost their jobs, while reporting done by “citizen journalists” using platforms like blogs, YouTube, and Twitter, became increasingly central to the dissemination of news.

A recent poll of prominent U.S. journalists who work for traditional national news media conducted by the Atlantic and the National Journal found that a majority of these journalists believe that journalism has been hurt more than helped by Internet.  Is this in fact the case? What is the state of reporting in the digital age, an age in which, for instance, bloggers writing from embattled neighborhoods in Syria give information that is picked up by mainstream news outlets whose reporters can’t reach these locations? Or, conversely, what is the state of reporting when bloggers from less “newsworthy” locations, like inner city neighborhoods, write about experiences that don’t fit traditional news narratives but now have an opportunity to at least try to broadcast their stories via the web?

Questions that participants in this pre-conference seminar might address in their papers and papers-in-progress include:

  • How have traditional news media responded to new media – for instance, by offering news on a “third screen” or entering into ventures with new media companies – and how effective have these forays been?
  • What constitutes a citizen journalist, and what effects are citizen journalists having as sources of information for the public and for more established media outlets? How has the internet affected reporting and its practices?
  • What is the role of the online news audience in the creation and dissemination of news when compared to the audience of print news?
  • What effect have the internet and mobile media had on reporting on breaking news and on crisis communication?
  • How has in-depth investigative reporting been affected by the emergence of the internet and mobile media as crucial sources of news?
  • What opportunities has the internet afforded writers, including those in marginalized social and economic groups, that they wouldn’t have had in traditional media?
  • How have print and broadcast media covered the development of digital news media?
  • Has the content of news changed as digital and mobile media as sources of news grown more popular?
  • Who are the gatekeepers in the new news environment, and what role do online gatekeepers play?
  • What are the social and cultural implications – locally, regionally, nationally, and globally – for the declining popularity of print news media and the growth of digital news media?

Participants in this pre-conference seminar are invited to investigate these questions and interrogate mainstream understandings of the nature of digital and print news sources and their audiences, and the relations between and among them.

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