1.1 Delineating the field and lines of inquiry

9 05 2009

***This is an outdated version. Please do not cite or reproduce in any way.***

I have briefly mentioned how the digital revolution has yielded new forms of journalism. These range from online news, citizen and pro-am reporting[1] to video journalism[2], spoof journalism[3] and non-profit investigative journalism[4]. It is not just new forms of journalism that are flourishing, content is too. Terms like ‘tabloidization’, ‘infotainment’ and ‘McJournalism’  refer to the (contested) view of a decline in traditional ‘hard’ news in favor of ‘soft’ news (e.g. Winston 2002; Uribe & Gunter 2004; Franklin 2005). In some cases, form and content are changing. For instance, representative journalism projects such as Locally Grown in Northfield, Minnesota (USA) is a ‘hyperlocal’ news operation serving the Northfield community[5]. A designated ‘representative journalist’ collaborates with other local bloggers to generate (and aggregate) exclusively hyperlocal news. By mobilizing the community to sponsor links and contribute or suggest stories, Locally Grown pilots a community-funded model of journalism.

While the jury is still out on the long-term viability of the hyperlocal model of journalism, suffice it to say that journalism is standing on shifting sands. It is therefore useful to draw a clear boundary around my field of inquiry and the analytical perspectives I adopt. To this end, I will use three pairs: print journalism and applied linguistics (1.1.1.), news production and ethnography (1.1.2) and lastly, economic journalism and intertextuality (1.1.3).

[1] For example, NewAssignment.net is an open platform for hybrid reporting by professional and amateur journalists. This project is based at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

[2] In video, backpack or solo journalism, reporters capture, edit, present and broadcast media content. It is a mobile, hi-tech and low-cost form of broadcast journalism, now commonly used in warzone reporting.

[3] Dubbed ‘America’s finest news source’, The Onion (theonion.com) is a professional news organization that specializes in print and online fake news. The Onion news articles parody established news genres (‘Prison Economy Spirals As Price Of Pack Of Cigarettes Exceeds Two Hand Jobs’) and often present the mundance (‘Local Idiot To Post Comment On Internet’) or the absurd (‘Obama Outfitted With 238 Motion Capture Sensors For 3-D Record Of Presidency’) in a newsworthy style.

[4] Non-profit journalism is an alternative way of keeping investigative journalism alive. Examples include ProPublica.org and PulitzerCenter.org. More info: http://www.pulitzercenter.org/temp/helene.pdf.

[5] For more information about Locally Grown Northfield, see http://locallygrownnorthfield.org/.




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