J200: Journalism and Mass Media
Journalism
and the
Digital Revolution
Objectives for this week and next
 History of Digital Revolution
 Consideration of its social, economic,
political and cultural impacts.
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Breaking News in the NYT
 In Fight Between Cable and Satellite,….”
 “To Grab Young Readers, ….”
 “Newsstands Beckon the Ink-Stained
Entrepreneur”
 “Patents: Idea for Online Networking….”
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Growth of the WWW
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Internet usage, trust
 60+% of Americans say they use the Internet
regularly to gather information, and two-thirds
have been using the Internet for three or more
years.
 97% of I-net users expect to find the
information in one or more information
categories they need on the Internet, compared
to 84% of all Americans.
 About 58+% of Americans expect to reach
others via e-mail.
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Internet usage, trust
 Looking at how Americans trust the information
they get on the Web, the survey found:
- 69% of all Americans and 85% of Internet
users trust the news Web sites.
- 67% of all Americans and 81% of users trust
the health information sites.
- 65% of all Americans and 82% of users trust
the government information sites.
- 63% of all Americans and 79% of users trust
the shopping sites.
- 31% of Americans or 34% of net users expect
to find reliable information about individuals
online.
Source: Pew’s Internet and American Life Project, Dec. 2002
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Distinguishing features of DigRev.
 Low production cost
 Hardware & software
 Greatest cost is time in learning curve
 Fluidity and ubiquity of message
distribution
 Immediate
 24/7/365 globally in multiple languages
 NOT necessarily one-to-one, but one to
many if so desired
 Potential for “mass customization” of
message/content. Infinitely “scaleable”
in terms of target audience (1  all )
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Social Implications of
Advances in
Telecommunication
Drawing on the work of
Prof. Louis Leung, Ph.D.
School of Journalism & Communication
University of Wisconsin
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Major points
 Intelligent home & information appliances
(recall early radio model; GE/RCA)
 Social & psychological impact:
 Digital isolation
 Social fragmentation
 Data smog
 Downside of e-mail
 Cyber relationships
 Internet seduction and addiction
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The New Information Age
 Intelligent home & Information
Appliance
 Television + computer = teleputer
 Dumb vs. smart appliance
 Digital, interactive, two-way
 Others:
 WebTV; PDA; 3G; screenfrige;
 Personal digital video recorder
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Information Communication Revolutions
 1st : Writing in 3500 B.C.
 Transform knowledge into information
 2nd : Printing in A.D. 1455
 Knowledge/data available to everyone
 Scientific & technological progress
 Share information with future generation
or across distances
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Info Communications Revolution
 3rd : Computing in A.D. 1890 (Hollerith)
 Storability, portability, accessibility,
processing/analysis
 Computers initially used for calculating
artillery shell trajectory
 Computers first used in journalism
 1952 presidential election
 http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/
9904/30/1952.idg/
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Information Communication Revolutions
 4th: Internetworking – ’60s on
 Transmission, dissemination, communication
 “Public computing/communication” birth
c. 1981-83
 a convergence model of newspaper, radio,
and TV on high speed data network
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HTML and beyond
 1989 - Three new technologies for the
web-to-be were incorporated into Tim
Berners-Lee’s proposal. Briefly, they were
 HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language) used to
write the web documents,
 HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) to transmit
the pages, and
 a web browser client software program to
receive and interpret data and display results.
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The World-Wide Web
 The Internet is NOT the World-Wide Web.
The WWW is but one segment, or sub-set,
of the total Internet
 The World Wide Web birth in 1991
 graphic, easy-to-use interface, hyperlink
 multimedia -- audio, video, text, animation
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Consistency.
 An important concept of his proposal:
the client software program's user interface
would be consistent across all types of
computer platforms so that users could access
information from many types of computers
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User Interface
 A line-mode user interface (named at CERN, the
world wide web or www) was completed in late
1989.
 The interface was used on a minor network in
March 1991.
 May 1991 was the first time that the informationsharing system using HTML, HTTP, and a client
software program (www) was fully operational
on the multi-platform computer network at the
CERN laboratories in Switzerland.
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File Availability
 The availability of CERN's files was announced
in the UseNET newsgroup, alt.hypertext, in
August 1991.
 This was the first time that the availability of the
files was announced to the public.
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"Web Server"
 All documents coded with HTML elements were
stored on one main computer at CERN. This special
type of computer was called a " web server" (by the
physicists at CERN) because it "served-up" batches
of cross-linked HTML documents.
 There was only one Web server located at CERN;
but by the end of 1992 there were 50+ Web servers
in the world. Many of these earliest Web servers
were located at universities or other research
centers.
 These servers were using line-mode interfaces. By
June 1999 there were more than 720,000 public
information servers. In April of 2001 there were over
24 million servers (http://www.netcraft.co.uk/survey/).
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NCSA Mosaic
 In 1993 Marc Andreesen was an
undergraduate student at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.
 He worked on a project for the National
Center for Supercomputing
Applications (NCSA).
 There he led a team that developed
“Mosaic” - the graphic interface
browser..
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Releasing Mosaic - 1993
 The first pre-Beta version of Mosaic
was released in February 1993; demoed in March ‘93.
 Version 1.0 of Mosaic was released in
September 1993 for the Windows,
Macintosh and the X Windows System
platforms.
 Popularity of the graphical user
interface (GUI) browser was immediate.
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Paradigm Shift
 Computer:
 From Calculating device  global
multimedia communication device
 Mainframe  PC  PDA
 Younger gen used to talk  used to
write ?? Now behind the screen
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Characteristics of
Intelligent Home & information appliances
 tend to be digital, computer-driven,
and interactive
 less restricted by limitation of time
and space
 old media may assume passive
receivers of news and information as
their audience
 new media require active seekers of
content
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The Changing Technology
Old Economy
1.
2.
3.
4.
Signal
Time
Carriage
Device
5.
6.
Quality
Direction
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New Economy
Analog
Digital
Synchronous
Asynchronous
Air
Multiple
Dumb (TV/Radio)Intelligent
(Information
Appliance)
Low
High
One-way Casting Two-way
(Interactive)
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The Changing Customers
Economy
Old Economy
New
1. Role
Viewer/Listener
2. Stance
Passive
User
Active
3. Function Consumer
Producer or
programmer
4. Location Home
Everywhere
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The Changing Business
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Control
Schedule
Funding
Advertising
Programming
Programming
The Industry
The Business
Requirements
for Success
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Old Economy
New Economy
Broadcaster
Prime time
Advertising
Hyperbolic
Dramatic
Cost High
Mass Media
Stable
Sound
management
Customer
Anytime
Customer Direct
Content
Information-based
All over the map
Molecular Media
Volatile
Visionary
Leadership
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Social Impact of
Information
Technologies
(Some aspects)
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Digital isolation
 blessed with fax, voice- and e-mail,
computer hookups and TV with hundreds
of channels, we don’t have to leave home
to work, shop, bank, visit, exercise, and
experience “virtual sex” (especially for
singles and the lonely)
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Digital isolation
 concerns about the effects of an
apparently growing obsession with new
communication technology
 often times causing isolation…
 ICQ in their bedroom
 Playing their gameboys
 in their own world listening to
discman/MP3/walkman
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Social fragmentation
 Before cable: it was dominated by a
single broadcast medium (e.g. free
terrestrial TV like TVB and ATV in HK)
 Now, widespread development of cable
TV providing a much richer, diverse
choice of programming in a multi-channel
viewing environment for a variety of
audience groups such as women, children,
sports, MTV, movies, classics, news,
comedy, minority, and gays
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Social fragmentation
 although certain major events (e.g.,
War in Iraq) could capture virtually
the entire viewing audience (i.e.,
country or community), common and
shared viewing experience are in
question
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Consider:
 Assumption: technological
development may erode one of the
most important positive social
functions television has served nurturing common culture
 Do you agree or disagree with this
assumption? Why & why not?
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Data smog
“As we have accrued more and more data
and information, they have become a
commodity – as well as a pollutant. “
-- David Shenk
Author of Data smog: Surviving the
information glut
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Data smog
 For nearly 100,000 years, information and
information technology was almost always a
good thing…
 developing culture; made us healthier; wealthier;
and more tolerant; understand more about how to
overcome challenges of life; food is more abundant;
have learned how to make political systems
function, societies more stable; citizens are freer;
individuals empowered; dangerous superstitions
and false notions washed away; reduce probability
of conflict (with hot lines for better communication)
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Data smog
 But now, we began to produce more
information than we could process it
 For 100,000 years, three fundamental
stages of the communications process –
production, distribution, and processing –
had been more or less in sync with one
another
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Data smog
 But in the mid-20th century, this synchrony was
abruptly knocked off track with the introduction
of computer, microwave transmission, television,
satellites, and the Internet
 hyperproduction and hyperdistribution
mechanisms surged ahead of human processing
ability, leaving us with a permanent processing
deficit
 in a very short history, we go from a state of
information scarcity to one of information
surplus
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Data smog
 in 1850, 4% American workers handled
information for a living, now most do
 information processing as opposed to
material goods now accounts for more
than half of the U.S. GDP
 data has become more plentiful and more
speedy
 computer processing speed has doubled
every 2 years for the last 30 years –
Moore’s Law
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Data smog
 from 1965-1995, average TV ads shrunk
from 53.1 seconds to 25.4 seconds
 average TV news sound bite shrunk from
42.3 seconds to 8.3 seconds
 number of ads per TV minute increased
from 1.1 to 2.4
 information has become a lot cheaper to
produce, to manipulate, to disseminate
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Data smog
 the real issue for future technology does not
appear to be production of information, and
certainly not transmission, the difficult question
is how to reduce it. -- Eli Noam
 or how to filter, scan, screen out the unwanted
information -- Fred Williams
 just like a “motor drive” that attached to 35mm
camera which shoots many separate exposures
in any given second.. click, click, click…
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Data smog
 same with copy machines, e-mail
forwarding, copy and paste from Internet
 signal-to-noise ratio: how much of the
information in our midst is useful? And
how much of it gets in the way?
 The blank spaces and silent moments in
life are fast disappearing. Media is
everywhere.
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Data smog
 Anywhere you go, all forms of media now
follows:
 On trains; planes; automobiles; hotel
bathrooms; along joggings paths and mount
trails; on bikes and boats; giant TV screens
adorn stadiums and surround theatrical
stages; TVs hang from ceilings in bars and
airport lounges; mini-TVs in front of
individual seats in new airliners; and ……..
(the list goes on)
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Data smog
 cellular telephone conversation creates
a new ambience for sidewalks,
hallways, even in libraries and theaters;
beepers and laptop computers follow us
home and come with us on vacation
 Portable PCs have replaced the
American Express card slogan: “Don’t
leave home without it.”
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Data smog
 Information has not only emerged as a
currency, but also as a pollutant
 Information doesn't have to be unwanted
and unattractive to be harmful
 E.g., TV commercial messages are
esthetically appealing and each can be
considered relatively harmless
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Data smog
 But they crept into every corner of our lives –
onto our jackets, ties, hats, shirts, wrist-bands,
bikes, benches, cars, trucks, taxi, tennis nets,
banner trailing behind planes, hanging above
sporting and concert events
 Bordering web pages; sides of blimps hovering
the sky; magazine ads on every single page;
magazines inserts sometimes it becomes
impossible to determine whether someone is
trying to tell you something or sell you
something
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Data smog
The Law of Data Smog
= With information and data production at
an all-time high, information overload has
surfaced as a contentious social, political,
and even emotional problem.
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Consider:
 1. What are some of the personal,
societal, and professional implications of
the law of data smog?
 2. What are some possible ways of
counteracting the incessant barrage of
information characteristic of a messagedense society?
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The Downside of E-mail
 the “insistent arrogance” and “unstoppable
proliferation” of e-mail messages that threaten to
drown computer users everywhere in a sea of
inelegant and unwanted communication.
– Seth Shostak
 e-mail has become “an incessant distraction, a
nonstop obligation, and a sure source of stress and
anxiety
 e-mail started out cute – an inoffensive spin-off
from a government defense project – to colleagues
at universities for among small group of researchers
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The Downside of E-mail
 e-mail was something to be checked every week or
so
 today access to the Internet is widespread,
everyone is wired and has something to say
 the gentle art of letter writing with pencil and paper
is gone
 e-mail is aggressive – it has a built-in insistent
arrogance
 because it arrives more or less instantaneously, the
assumption is that you will deal with it quickly –
quickly might mean minutes or possibly hours;
certainly not days
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The Downside of E-mail
 failure to respond directly usually produces a
complaint: “Didn't you get my last e-mail?”
 old style exchange of letters allows inquires and
response in a few days or a week which could be
considered in depth; today, all is knee-jerk reaction
 despite being easy to edit, e-mail usually suffers
from major spelling faults, grammar, and a lack of
logical organization – can be called ASCII graffiti
 Effects on writing skills??
 e-mail is not one-to-one, it can be one-to-many;
that is bad news on the receiving end
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The Downside of E-mail
 cc: (carbon copy) are being abused and used to
prove that people are doing their jobs under the
name of keeping everyone informed
 vacations have lost their attraction as laptops
are brought along in the desperate hope of
keeping up with e-mail’s steady drip
 of all e-mails we receive on a typical day, about
50% [at BEST] require a reply; others are jokes,
irrelevant bulletins, announcements, and spam
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Cyber Relationships
 virtual communities –
 meet people through communication
networks
 extends our relationships across time and
distance
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Cyber Relationships
 Jerry Brown:
 Mammals need contact
 Human resides in a physical world, not in
cyberspace
 Meaning of communication and conversation
 Need to smell the books, feel of Mosque &
churches, meet people in coffee shops, watch
ducks swim in lakes
 social presence - the degree to which sensory
cues are present that convey hidden meanings
 Problem of “high tech - low touch”
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Cyber Relationships
 low social presence are adequate for
information seeking and problem solving,
but not for relationship building
 less effective when resolving conflicts or
forming impressions of new acquaintances
(Short, Williams, & Christie, 1976)
 people save bad news for in-person
contacts than do good news
(Dordick & LaRose, 1992)
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Domestication of the Internet
 = the integration of the Internet into the home
 In 1999, over 205 million Internet users worldwide
 over 3 million users have access to the Internet in




Hong Kong (48.7% of all households)
PC among all household = 60.6%; of which 80.4%
online
As of April 2002, 757,000 households have
broadband access in Hong Kong, over 33% of all
households
Over 77% go online at home
Nearly 50% go online in the evening
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The debate
 Does the Internet improve or harm
participation in community life and social
relationships?
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2 perspectives:
 (1) Internet is causing people to
become socially isolated and cut off
from genuine social relationships
 alone over the terminals or
communicate with anonymous
strangers through socially
impoverished medium
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2 perspectives:
 (2) Internet leads to more and better
social relationships by freeing people
from constraints of geography or
isolation brought on by stigma, illness,
or schedule
 join groups on the basis of common
interests rather than convenience
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Civic Engagement and
Social Participation Theories
 Robert Putnam (1995) “Bowling Alone:
The collapse and revival of American
community” -- America’s Declining Social
Capital
 Found broad decline in civic
engagement and social participation
in the U.S. over the past 35 years:
 citizens vote less
 go to church less
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Civic Engagement and
Social Participation
 discuss government with neighbors less
 members of fewer voluntary
organizations
 fewer dinner parties
 get together less for civic and social
purposes
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Putnam argued:
 Major consequences of social
disengagement:
 At individual level
 social fabric and individual lives
deteriorated
 poor quality of life
 diminished physical and psychological
health
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Putnam argued:
 more social contact = happier both
mentally and physically
 At societal level
 more corruption
 less efficient government
 more crime
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Putnam argued:
 More social engagement:
 school runs better
 politicians are more responsive
 streets are safer
 Checks and balances on public
agenda
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If this theory has merit, are
Internet users engaging or
disengaging themselves
through ICQ, chat groups,
forums, and e-mails?
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The
Carnegie Mellon
Study
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The Carnegie Mellon Study
 tracking social and psychological well-
being on 169 people in 73 households
over a 2-year period online (Kraut, 1998)
 Purpose:
 To examine the social impact of the Internet
on social involvement and psychological wellbeing
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Methodology
 monitored a panel of families over time
(longitudinal)
 measured at multiple times
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Demographics
Internet use
Social involvement &
psychological well-being
T1
T2
Social involvement &
psychological well-being
(Control group?)
T3
The MORE Internet used:
 declining in the size of their social circle
with fewer friends
 less time talking with their families
 experiencing more daily life stressors
 feeling more lonely and depressed
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Gender
Age
+
Income
Stress
Internet use
Social support
-
-
Depression
Depression
Loneliness
Loneliness
T1
T2
T3
Questions:
1. Why did the researchers conclude that
relationships maintained over long
distances through the Internet erode
personal security and happiness?
2. If avid Internet use really does lead to a
decline in normal levels of social
involvement and psychological wellbeing. What should be done about it—
anything?
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Here is why?
 Internet had a negative impact on well-
being, why?
 (1) Time spent more online may take
away from more valuable activities,
including social contact, sleep, or reading
books
 (2) Useful linking people to information
and social resources unavailable in
people’s closest local groups (e.g.,
professional groups)
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Here is why?
 (3) many of the social relationship people
maintained online are LESS substantial
and sustaining than relationship that
people have in their actual lives
 (4) relationships associated with frequent
contact, deep feelings of affection and
obligation
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Here is why?
 (5) strong social ties are relationships that
generally buffer people from life’s stresses
 (6) Online (computer-mediated)
communication is a LESS adequate
medium for social communication than
the telephone or face-to-face interactions
it displaces
 (7) relationships with superficial and easily
broken bonds
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Internet and Interpersonal
Communication
 Internet turned out to be far more social
than television
 Internet may be more like that of the
telephone than television
 interpersonal communication is the
dominant use of the Internet at home
 user must actively involve in the balancing
act
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Consider:
 How serious is this problem in your
personal life?
 Any one you know who has the symptoms
of Internet addiction?
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Blogs and Journalism
 Media writer Mark Jurkowitz wrote in "The Boston Globe" that the
Internet writing journals or Web logs called "bogs" may have had a
role in the downfall of former majority leader Senator Trent Lott (RMS).
 It appears that many mainstream journalists read the writings of
"bloggers" who dug into Lott's segregationist past and kept the
story alive until picked up by the mainstream press.
 "Whatever the bloggers' impact in the Lott case, the episode did
serve to turn the spotlight on a hybrid form of [online]
journalism/commentary/conversation that is exploding into the
media landscape."
 It is estimated that there were about one million bloggers in 2002,
which is a 50% jump from 2001. Perhaps another half million or
more this year.
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More on Blogs
 Bill Mitchell, online editor at the journalism think tank, the Poynter
Institute, thinks that bloggers will become an important "adjunct"
to the journalism field.
 Blogs are read by mainstream journalists, much like they read the
specialized trade press for story ideas.
 Mitchell concluded, "If I were a beat reporter, I would think a blog
would be a really valuable part of my tool kit [given] the
opportunity it creates for journalists to selectively serve particular
chunks of the audience." It is also interesting to note that there are
more Weblogs applications, such as:
1. blogmapping: Go to www.blogmapper.com to see how you can
click on a map and get related blogs.
2. Richer than text blogs, which use new technology to integrate
digital pictures or audio or video.
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Blog history
 First news blog: Dispatches from the
Coast -- First known use of the Weblog
format to cover a breaking story by a
news site (Aug. 26 - 28, 1998, The
Charlotte Observer, covering Hurricane
Bonnie). Read a behind-the-scenes look at
the making of Dispatches from the
Coast...
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New messages
 Political “Cartoons”
http://www.idleworm.com/index.shtml
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Characteristics of the digital power
shift




Ubiquitous
Interactive
Bi-directional, immediate feedback
Go back to Week III’s and the analytic
matrix
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John Seely BrownFundamental digital Dynamics
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John Seely Brown-Amazing Digital Disk
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John Seely Brown- Digital Age Shifts
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New channels
 Meetup
http://www.meetup.com/
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Journalism and Bloggs
 The CyberJournalist List
The Internet's most complete directory of J-Blogs
http://www.cyberjournalist.net/cyberjourn
alists.html
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J301: Journalism History Week 7