“We the Media”

Chapter 1: From Tom Paine to Blogs and Beyond
Unlike today, newspapers have dominated the news world, particularly when the newspaper business began to thrive in the 19th century. In 1844 Samuel Morse’s telegraph played a crucial role to effectively gather and distribute news. At the end of the 19th century, individuals who revealed a wide array of outrages to the public were called muckrakers. Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell, Jacob Riis, and Upton Sinclair have been recognized for their brave exposure of society’s dark realities. The 20th century sparked the corporate age in journalism where news businesses began to consolidate and large companies became preferred over small.

Chapter 2: The Read-Write Web
In the 1990s Tim Berners-Lee developed a “read/write Web.” The Internet has allowed people to become more informed individuals since a wide array of information is presented in various ways, such as blogs and journals. Mail lists and forums allow for the news to be strengthened and are wonderful resources for background information. Having a strong, passionate voice on a subject is a common trend on individuals’ blogs. Blogs prompt conversation amongst others where many will agree or disagree on others’ blogs and/or posts which generate people to leave comments. Blogging software has strengthened overtime and audio, video, and animation have become an asset.

Chapter 3: The Gates Come Down
Given that everyone has the ability to create news, rules have changed for newsmakers. People are now able to share news more widely and rapidly and are able to show support for an issue or individual easily. Today information is spread like wild fire through various means such as emails, instant messages, and phone calls. As a result news is quickly shared regardless if it is accurate through modern forms of communication. Average citizens have contributed to journalism and history documentation by taking photos of people, places, and things for news stories with camera phones.

Chapter 4: Newsmakers Turn the Tables
There are several benefits to posting entire major interviews such as providing important history, utilizing it is a reference, and keeping reporters focused. The press release era is slowly fading and newsmakers have begun to rely on average citizens who wish to contribute to the news, such as bloggers. Blogs allow the staff members of companies to take unique angles on a personal level by sharing thoughts and opinions. In the business world, blogs allow consumers to see beyond the corporate level and acquire insight from the minds of professionals. Executives can utilize blogs to address issues and reflect upon them in their own way.

Chapter 5: The Consent of the Governed
Blogs, weblogs, online newspapers, and other online resources play an imperative role in politics. It is crucial to keep supporters informed and up to date with relevant campaign information and to provide a place where discussions can be held. Politicians can utilize the Internet to fundraise for their campaigns, such as John McCain raising $6.4 million. Politicians can also use meeting websites, such as Meetup, to organize meet and greets. However, the Internet can be a damaging resource in politics where negative comments that attack candidates and parties can be posted. Since video-making software has become inexpensive, individuals can also create and share distasteful videos.

Chapter 6: Professional Journalists Join the Conversation
Digital communications and media continue to grow which has caused average citizens to play an important and contributing role in the journalism process. It is believed that as time goes on, the “audience” will take charge of journalism. However, there will always be a need for professional journalists to gather accurate facts, interview sources, and write stories. The Internet allows for the audience to have a strong voice, which is viewed as a beneficial way to improve upon journalism rather than harm it. For online discussion forums, editors and news staff should be active on such pages in order to handle the input of their readers in a modern manner.

Chapter 7: The Former Audience Joins the Party
People have come to rely on blogs to acquire current news stories. Average citizens are not only consumers of the news, but are also producing it to inform others. Unlike ever before, the voice of average citizens are being heard loud and clear on issues and events rather than just professional journalists telling us what they want us to hear. Individuals are participating in “acts of civic engagement” by writing blogs focused on different subjects. Unlike reporters, bloggers are capable of producing in-depth stories since they are not limited of time or space. Wikipedia has become a useful resource since anyone is able to edit posts and contribute information.

Chapter 8: Next Steps
As technology emerges, large media corporations such as Google News, Yahoo!, and MSN News are now relied on by many to provide the top news stories in a click of a button. Such online media resources allow individuals the option to read news stories that are reported differently and take on different angles. MyYahoo! allows for customized news reports to target the interests of each individual user. New and rising technologies, such as Technorati, which allows people to locate blogs of interest, breaking news, and highly visited blogs, will surely help journalists stay aware of online conversations and discussions circulating the Internet.

Chapter 9: Trolls, Spin, and the Boundaries of Trust
The rise in technology has now given people the opportunity to develop fake credible websites, spread gossip, post inaccurate information, and alter photos and videos. Malicious practices can come into place when cutting and pasting certain information can distort the significance of a story. To prevent this from occurring, when sharing a news story with another send the original news story link. Having the option of remaining anonymous after posting information or media online can be a credibility issue. In order to be credible online, one must not only make intelligent statements but also be proud to identify themselves for standing behind those arguments.

Chapter 10: Here Comes the Judges (And Lawyers)
Libel does not only apply to professional journalists, but also to those who contribute to online resources such as bloggers. Those who routinely write online should consider being insured against libel if financially able. Writers should also take extra precautions when reporting on those whose public reputation is vital to their livelihoods. Given the “anything goes” online attitude and cut-and-paste culture, cheating has become prevalent amongst Internet journalists. It is important to be cautious of all material posted on another website before providing a link to it to others on online resources.

Chapter 11: The Empire Strikes Back
The Internet has become “the world’s biggest enabler of infringement” due to the simple practices of copying and sharing material. In 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed to reinstate copyright guidelines into the “digital age” and to also ensure that the rights of users and producers were tolerated. Computer technology must be improved in the future to help prohibit individuals from illegally copying materials. The entertainment field is seeking to improve upon the broadcast flag, the analog hole, and peer-to-peer file sharing. Entertainment businesses are now enforcing that PCs and other personal devices disallow the practice of making unauthorized copies. A downfall for online journalism is the more traffic a page attracts, the more expensive it is to maintain.

Chapter 12: Making Our Own News
The Internet has become the greatest medium of the time since the development of Gutenberg’s printing press. Blogs serve the role of providing feedback to one another on a global and immediate level. Technological improvements have negatively affected the journalism industry, particularly journalists themselves, newsmakers, and the audience. Newsmakers are struggling to comprehend how to adapt and utilize modern communication tools, as well as interact in new ways with their readers and viewers. Today’s audience must also adapt to new journalistic practices by not only being consumers of news, but also active in the news process by participating in news story conversations via the web.



  1. Good job! I look forward to reading your blog this semester.

  2. Good job on second set of reviews.

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