Sunday, January 14, 2007

Digital journalists do it differently

Here's an Italian journalist who's started an online news website. In "A New Media Tells Different Stories" Bruno Guissani tries to close the gap between what we used to do, and what the new job is. This appeared in a peer-reviewed journal on the Internet called First Monday and is a current reading in Digital Journalism, a class I'm taking this quarter from Howard Rheingold, author of "Smart Mobs."

Here's a taste from Bruno's piece:
"A journalist with little online experience tends to think in terms of stories, news value, public service, and things that are good to read, points out Melinda McAdams in her excellent account of the making of the Washington Post online venture. But a person with a lot of online experience thinks more about connections, organization, movement within and among sets of information, and communication among different people

"The newspaper is no longer a product. It becomes a place. A place where people from the community stop by, make contacts and come back again to build a common future."
And this:
"The relationship between us and our readers becomes less clear in its definition yet stronger by its need. Answering your readers' e-mail as well as opening forums for debates or chat rooms on Web sites are the first steps in developing what I call a community: a group of people who identify with a certain newspaper not only because it provides news but because it allows connections, a space for sharing ideas and developing solutions. As Katherine Fulton writes, Content is people as well as information, and I fully agree.

"With this in mind, facts and information can circulate without interference and without the journalist acting as a filter. He will have to give up part of the power he used to have - based on his competence as well as on his position. The role of the journalist is changing into a more central figure, a mediator. He directs traffic, explores, becomes a facilitator of discussions. His new power will depend on his ability to animate a group of people, to develop methods and means to enliven the community, to organize information-gathering and use with the participation of the members of the community."

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