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Networked Journalism

The internet is expanding and journalism can keep up with the changes or do nothing. Or perhaps doing nothing isn’t an option.

Are journalists at a crossroads, or are they starting to climb a steep hill? I think the latter is true.

Some may see the development of Web 2.0 as little more than IT experts playing around. This may be true of some applications, but it’s also important to see potential social benefits of other new applications.

The Phillis Report of January 2004 was written to try and rebuild a breakdown in trust between government, the media and the general public.

It recommended a greater emphasis on regional communication and said: “Research told us the public want information that is more relevant to them and where they live.”

It also said: “Information on local public services should be prominent and easily found. There should be increased investment in websites to reflect the increasing importance of this method of communication.”

As a medium, the internet could be more transparent and could give a greater emphasis to regional communication than newspapers. One example of this is the is the Liverpool Daily Post’s Interactive News Map:

Users click on the pins in the map to read about stories in their area, which are directly relevant to them.

Users are also engaging with the news in a way which newspapers don’t allow and could encourage people to become more interested in local community issues.

What if it crashes?

It crossed my mind: If the internet is booming, is there also an inevitable bust?

To consider for a moment what that bust would involve, led me to think there may be a time in the future when journalism relied solely on the internet. In that case, a crash could result in no news.

But I don’t think that would happen, because there will always be news. Even if there aren’t professional journalists to report news through a professional medium, there will always be word of mouth.

The other point of considering the worst case scenario is to realise many people are simply scared of the unknown. In the case of the current financial bust – yes, it’s bad, but people are coping. That’s what happens when things go wrong.

“All you fear, is fear itself” (Aaron Neville Hercules, 1973).

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