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Articles: Musings


Wired News
by Aparajita Matushila

If I were asked of my preference -- reporting for the conventional media and reporting for internet -- I would unhesitatingly reply that I am all for the latter.
For the internet is the most dramatic form of communication the world ever had.

Newspapers, doling out news on a day to day basis, have been around for more than a century; radio for some seventy-five years; TV for about five decades; and cable TV for more than fifteen years. Does this serve the audience interest effectively? No. For all these media still have room for accelerating the pace of info transmission. And each media looks upon the term, `old news' as an oxymoron, but each one views old news from a different angle or perspective most suited to its slant. That is where the internet scores.

Graphic by: Naveen Namdev
The internet lowers the cost of publishing dramatically just as the rotary press did for the print. But the lowered entry cost of internet publishing makes it economically possible, perhaps even necessary to attract a relatively limited yet enthusiastic audience who demand focused information rather than a broad package of non-offensive material designed to attract the widest possible audience. Most of the recent success stories on the net to date follow a strategy of targeting a specified audience worldwide.

Usually a news story lasts until it is replaced by another. Yesterday's paper is at best good until today's news arrive. In the conventional media, the old news is discarded as soon as the new arrives. In sharp contrast, cyber-journalism allows readers to discover the value of the old news. Internet has redefined deadlines.

In an era of websites and push media, deadline for the cyber journalist is the next minute or even second.

What is more, the power of the computer to instantly retrieve what is normally dismissed as old news is tremendous. You may, for example, ignore all news about food, nutrition or exercise until the day the doctor finds a suspicious lump in your colon. Suddenly, retrieving all sorts of health-related information becomes a matter of vital interest. Here lies the ability of the internet to search and retrieve important information no matter where or when it was published.

The element of interactivity and instant feedback from the readers is a key feature of online journalism.

A cyber journalist needs to be prepared to engage his/her reader(s) in an ongoing dialogue. If the print journalist is a gatekeeper, a cyber journalist is a guide, a sort of virtual bartender. In cyber journalism, the reporter and the editor do not tell the readers what is important. That right remains with the reader. A cyber journalist only helps the reader find the information that is most useful for him/her.

The voice of online journalism is more passionate, impressionistic, telegraphic, immediate and global. Net journalism allows to produce news that has a chance of surviving more than one news cycle.

The new media technology is drawing closer vast untapped audience and is bound to have far greater impact on the communities across the world in the twenty-first century.

Neither print, nor audio-visual media is threatened by the entry of internet. There is room for all the diverse media to flourish. Together, they will quicken and enhance knowledge transfer.

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