Online journalism

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Online journalism is defined as the reporting of facts produced and distributed via the Internet.

An early leader was The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. Steve Yelvington wrote on the Poynter Institute website about Nando, owned by The N&O, by saying "Nando evolved into the first serious, professional news site on the World Wide Web -- long before CNN, MSNBC, and other followers." It originated in the early 1990s as "NandO Land".

Many news organizations based in other media also distribute news online, but the amount they use of the new medium varies. Some news organizations use the Web exclusively or as a secondary outlet for their content. The Online News Association is the premier organization representing online journalists, with more than 800 members.

The Internet challenges traditional news organizations in several ways. Newspapers may lose classified advertising to websites, which are often targeted by interest instead of geography. These organizations are concerned about real and perceived loss of viewers and circulation to the Internet.

And the revenue gained with advertising on news websites is sometimes too small to support the site.

Even before the Internet, technology and other factors were dividing people's attention, leading to more - but narrower - media outlets.


[edit] Work outside traditional press

The Internet has also given rise to more participation by people who aren't normally journalists, such as with Indy Media (Max Perez).

Bloggers write on web logs or blogs. Traditional journalists often do not consider bloggers to automatically be journalists. This has more to do with standards and professional practices than the medium. But, as of 2005, blogging has generally gained at least more attention and has led to some effects on mainstream journalism, such as exposing problems related to a television piece about President Bush's National Guard Service.

Other significant tools of on-line journalism are Internet forums, discussion boards and chats, especially those representing the Internet version of official media. The widespread use of the Internet all over the world created a unique opportunity to create a meeting place for both sides in many conflicts, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Russian-Chechen War. Often this gives a unique chance to find new, alternative solutions to the conflict, but often the Internet is turned into the battlefield by contradicting parties creating endless "online battles."

Most Internet users agree that on-line sources are often less biased and more informative than the official media. This claim is often backed with the belief that on-line journalists are merely volunteers and freelancers who are not paid for their activity, and therefore are free from corporate ethics. But recently many Internet forums began to moderate their boards because of threat of vandalism, which many users see as a form of censorship.

Some online journalists have an ambition to replace the mainstream media in the long run. Some independent forums and discussion boards have already achieved a level of popularity comparable to mainstream news agencies such as television stations and newspapers. Particularly interesting are in the United States, Expatica in Western Europe and several others.

Internet radio and Podcasts are other growing independent media based on the Internet.

[edit] Legal issues

One emerging problem with online journalism in the United States is that, in many states, individuals who publish only on the Web do not enjoy the same First Amendment rights as reporters who work for traditional print or broadcast media. As a result, unlike a newspaper, they are much more liable for such things as libel. In California, however, protection of anonymous sources was ruled to be the same for both kinds of journalism.

In Canada there are more ambiguities, as Canadian libel law permits suits to succeed even if no false statements of fact are involved, and even if matters of public controversy are being discussed. In British Columbia, as part of "a spate of lawsuits" against online news sites, according to legal columnist Michael Geist, several cases have put key issues in online journalism up for rulings. Green Party of Canada financier Wayne Crookes filed a suit in which he alleged damages for an online news service that republished resignation letters from that party and let users summarize claims they contained. He had demanded access to all the anonymous sources confirming the insider information, which Geist believed would be extremely prejudicial to online journalism. The lawsuit, "Crookes versus openpolitics", attracted attention from the BBC and major newspapers, perhaps because of its humorous name. Crookes had also objected to satire published on the site, including use of the name gang of Crookes for his allies.

Some experts including kumud ranjan believe that libel law is wholly incompatible with online journalism and that right of reply will eventually have to replace it. Otherwise commentary on events in places that give libel plaintiffs too many rights or powers will move to other jurisdictions and most of the comment will be made anonymous. Everyone would then lose rights and remedies, due to a few wealthy people with resources to launch libel suits on weak grounds. Jennifer Jannuska and other legal commentators have, while agreeing with strong protections for publishers who only host journalists, sometimes emphasize that the use of anonymizer technology makes even criminal abuses, not just libel, possible, and so should be avoided even if other rights are lost.

[edit] News collections

The Internet also offers options such as personalized news feeds and aggregators, which compile news from different websites into one site. One of the most popular news aggregators is Google News. Others include,, FaceofTruth,,

But, some people see too much personalization as detrimental. For example, some fear that people will have narrower exposure to news.

As of March 2005, Wikinews rewrites articles from other news organizations.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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