Online journalism is news that is reported on the Internet. News can be delivered more quickly through this method of news as well as accessed more easily. The internet era has transformed the understanding of news. Because the internet allows communication which is not only instantaneous, but also bi- or multi-directional, it has blurred the boundaries of who is a legitimate news producer. A common type of internet journalism is called blogging, which is a service of persistently written articles uploaded and written by one or more individuals.
Millions of people in countries such as the United States and South Korea have taken up blogging. Many blogs have rather small audiences; some blogs are read by millions each month.Social media sites, especially Twitter and Facebook, have become an important source of breaking news information and for disseminating links to news websites. Twitter declared in 2012: “It’s like being delivered a newspaper whose headlines you’ll always find interesting – you can discover news as it’s happening, learn more about topics that are important to you, and get the inside scoop in real time.” Cell phone cameras have normalized citizen photojournalism.
Michael Schudson, professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has said that “everything we thought we once knew about journalism needs to be rethought in the Digital Age.” Today the work of journalism can be done from anywhere and done well. It requires no more than a reporter and a laptop. In that way, journalistic authority seems to have become more individual- and less institution-based.
But does the individual reporter always have to be an actual journalist? Or can journalistic work be done from anywhere and by anyone? These are questions that refer to the core of journalistic practice and the definition of “news” itself. As Schudson has given emphasis to, the answer is not easily found; “the ground journalists walk upon is shaking, and the experience for both those who work in the field and those on the outside studying it is dizzying”.
These alterations inevitably have fundamental ramifications for the contemporary ecology of news. “The boundaries of journalism, which just a few years ago seemed relatively clear, and permanent, have become less distinct, and this blurring, while potentially the foundation of progress even as it is the source of risk, has given rise to a new set of journalistic principles and practices”, Schudson puts it. It is indeed complex, but it seems to be the future.
Online news has also changed the geographic reach of individual news stories, diffusing readership from city-by-city markets to a potentially global audience. Because internet does not have the “column inches” limitation of print media, online news stories can, but don’t always, come bundled with supplementary material. The medium of the world wide web also enables hyperlinking, which allows readers to navigate to other pages related to the one they’re reading.
Despite these changes, some studies have concluded that internet news coverage remains fairly homogenous and dominated by news agencies.And journalists working with online media do not identify significantly different criteria for newsworthiness than print journalists.
The early internet, known as ARPANET, was controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense and used mostly by academics. It became available to a wider public with the release of the Netscape browser in 1994. At first, news websites were mostly archives of print publications. An early online newspaper was the Electronic Telegraph, published by The Daily Telegraph. A 1994 earthquake in California was one of the first big stories to be reported online in real time.
In 1995, the release of web browser Netscape made news sites accessible to more people. On the day of the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995, people flocked to newsgroups and chatrooms to discuss the situation and share information. The Oklahoma City Daily posted news to its site within hours. Two of the only news sites capable of hosting images, the San Jose Mercury News and Time magazine, posted photographs of the scene.
Quantitatively, the internet has massively expanded the sheer volume of news items available to one person. The speed of news flow to individuals has also reached a new plateau.This insurmountable flow of news can daunt people and cause information overload. Zbigniew Brzezinski called this period the “technetronic era”, in which “global reality increasingly absorbs the individual, involves him, and even occasionally overwhelms him.”
In cases of government crackdowns or revolutions, the Internet has often become a major communication channel for news propagation; while it’s a (relatively) simple act to shut down a newspaper, radio or television station, mobile devices such as smartphones and netbooks are much harder to detect and confiscate. The propagation of internet-capable mobile devices has also given rise to the citizen journalist, who provide an additional perspective on unfolding events.
News agencies are services which compile news and disseminate it in bulk. Because they disseminate information to a wide variety of clients, who repackage the material as news for public consumption, news agencies tend to use less controversial language in their reports. Despite their importance, news agencies are not well known by the general public. They keep low profiles and their reporters usually do not get bylines.
The oldest news agency still operating is the Agence France-Presse (AFP). It was founded in 1835 by a Parisian translator and advertising agent, Charles-Louis Havas as Agence Havas. By the end of the twentieth century, Reuters far outpaced the other news agencies in profits, and became one of the largest companies in Europe. In 2011, Thomson Reuters employed more than 55,000 people in 100 countries, and posted an annual revenue of $12.9 billion.
United Press International gained prominence as a world news agency in the middle of the twentieth century, but shrank in the 1980s and was sold off at low prices. It is owned by the Unification Church company News World Communications.
News agencies, especially Reuters and the newly important Bloomberg News, convey both news stories for mass audiences and financial information of interest to businesses and investors. Bloomberg LP, a private company founded by Michael Bloomberg in 1981, made rapid advances with computerized stock market reporting updated in real time. Its news service continued to exploit this electronic advantage by combining computer-generated analytics with text reporting. Bloomberg linked with Agence France Presse in the 1990s.
Following the marketization of the Chinese economy and the media boom of the 1990s, Xinhua has adopted some commercial practices including subscription fees, but it remains government-subsidized. It provides newswire, news photos, economic information, and audio and video news. Xinhua has a growing number of subscribers, totaling 16,969 in 2002, including 93% of Chinese newspapers. It operates 123 foreign bureaus and produces 300 news stories each day.
Other agencies with considerable reach include Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Germany), Kyodo News (Japan), the Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (Italy), the Middle East News Agency (Egypt), Tanjug (Serbia), EFE (Spain), and Anadolu Agency (Turkey).
On the internet, news aggregators play a role similar to that of the news agency—and, because of the sources they select, tend to transmit news stories which originate from the main agencies. Of articles displayed by Yahoo! News in the U.S., 91.7% come from news agencies: 39.4% from AP, 30.9% AFP, and 21.3% Reuters. In India, 60.1% of Yahoo! News stories come from Reuters.
Google News relies somewhat less on news agencies, and has shown high volatility, in the sense of focusing heavily on the most recent handful of salient world events. In 2010, Google News redesigned its front page with automatic geotargeting, which generated a selection of local news items for every viewer.
News values are the professional norms of journalism. Commonly, news content should contain the “Five Ws” (who, what, when, where, why, and also how) of an event. There should be no questions remaining. Newspapers normally place hard news stories on the first pages, so the most important information is at the beginning. Busy readers can read as little or as much as they desire. Local stations and networks with a set format must take news stories and break them down into the most important aspects due to time constraints.
Journalists are often expected to aim for objectivity; reporters claim to try to cover all sides of an issue without bias, as compared to commentators or analysts, who provide opinion or personal point of view. The result is a laying out of facts in a sterile, noncommittal manner, and standing back to “let the reader decide” which view is true.Several governments impose certain constraints against bias.