From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.
This site documents the process and the results.
Online journalism refers to news content produced and/or distributed via the Internet, particularly material created by journalists who work for mainstream market driven news organizations. While blogs and other emerging forms of online news communication are widely acknowledged as significantly influencing mainstream news content both on and offline, they are considered here a distinct phenomenon and treated under the category of alternative media.
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The first few days of February I'll be at Lift, a content on the near future of technology, people and communication. Nicolas Nova and others have organized this conference, together with a workshop on Blogjects — a not particularly clever neologism I came up with for objects that blog. This topic ties into the idea of proximity-based interaction and usage scenarios for mobile contexts, the main theme of the NetMagnet research project I'm working on through the Netpublics seminar. An informed speculation I have is that the future of content creation and dissemination won't just come from people. It will also come from the social world of objects — things that have histories and experiences. A different kind of witness upon the world, and a witness to events that are of interest to the other blogging species — people. Micro local content is one area in which this may be of practical concern. Just this afternoon I had a nice long meeting with Elizabeth Osder at Yahoo Media in Santa Monica. We discussed many things, including how to reward local communities for disseminating news about local sports events. I mean..really local sports events — the little league team scores, for instance. Now, this fits into a larger conversation about the news content ecology, but just taking this particular problem in hand in the context of the Blogject: why don't scoreboards blog?. Sure, it's not a question deserving any measure of brilliance for the asking, but it suggests a (super simple) example of the Blogject. Why are blogging objects interesting? The idea bubbled up as I was reading Bruce Sterling's "Shaping Things". The [w:Spime] — the "thing" in the world that knows itself and is able to tell things around it about itself. RFID is the Paleostine era for Spimes. Blogjects are Spimes that are fluent and legible, so that anyone can read them. Blogjects are meant for humans to read, in human code, not encrypted Arphid data. Blogjects are the prototype framework to experiment, DIY style, with what Spimes can become. The current, upgraded brain of the Aibo blogs, for instance. The motivation here is not just to create objects that blog, as we now understand blogging. But to use the framework of the complete blog social formation as one in which objects participate — first-class — in the entire multipath culture circulation network. That means syndication, layering meaning on content, trackback, etc. There are several Blogject prototype projects on the front burner. One is a Sakura riff called flavonoid, turned around into a U.S. idiolect, focusing on the present day craze with Pedometers. Another is a way to turn device logs into material that's legible to humans. I've already gone on and on about FlightAware, but there are other idioms — for instance, Motion Based, a community-based mobile social software framework that slurps up device track logs and translates them into fitness goals and regimens.
Happy Thanksgiving, but perhaps not for old journalism. News sources such as the San Francisco Chronicle and Editor and Publisher are covering Craigslist founder Craig Newmark's announcement that he will be working on new technology "to help people find the most trusted versions of the more important stories." This does not mean that Craigslist will itself host the service, Newmark later clarified on his own blog.
Annenberg Center for Communication
Networked Publics Postdoctoral Fellowship
Network publics are both empowered and overrun in the contemporary media environment. National governments and multinational media conglomerates have expanded their reach and have become practiced in the battle for control of the digital landscape, creating their own varieties of network publics, using advanced internet and satellite technologies, copyright and libel law, and national and extra-national legislation to monitor and guide use of new information technologies. But the network landscape changes rapidly. The 2003 antiwar protests included hundreds of thousands of people, the first time in history that so many people in so many countries organized demonstrations around a single issue. The protests were made possible in part by digital communication technology, which was used to coordinate marches, file reports, send video and sound files, and to scrutinize mainstream coverage of the events. Networked publics combined and clashed in a network information war, in which the quality and definition of “news
In "bloggers to have less rights than journalists?", Kazys Varnelis writes:
bq. "The 2005 Free Flow of Information Act is designed to protect journalists from having to reveal the names of their anonymous sources except under specific conditions. On Monday, however, the bill's co-sponsor, US Senator Richard Lugar—who said he was inspired to write the legislation by columnist Judith Miller's recent imprisonment for not revealing her source to a court—suggested that bloggers would not be considered journalists under this law."
The comment by Luger was actually a question, according to Seth Finkelstein responding to Dan Gillmor. The full quote reads:
bq. "As to who is a reporter, this will be a subject of debate as this bill goes farther along (...) Are bloggers journalists? Or some of the commercial businesses that you here would probably not consider real journalists? Probably not, but how do you determine who will be included in this bill?"
kausfiles also weighs in on the journalist vs. blogger protection.
Is anyone surprised, though, that journalists would be granted privileges and protections that bloggers are not?
The New York Times carries an an article on how repressive regimes such as the military-run state of Myanmar use off-the-shelf technology from Sunnyvale, California based Fortinet to filter out dissenting Internet content.
Ars Technica picked up this item from Editor and Publisher yesterday. The 2005 Free Flow of Information Act is designed to protect journalists from having to reveal the names of their anonymous sources except under specific conditions. On Monday, however, the bill's co-sponsor, US Senator Richard Lugar—who said he was inspired to write the legislation by columnist Judith Miller's recent imprisonment for not revealing her source to a court—suggested that bloggers would not be considered journalists under this law. So somehow we have freedom of speech, but some of us have more freedom of speech than others? So much for the dream of media from the ground up.
Reporters Without Borders or Reporters sans frontiéres has just released a handbook for bloggers and cyberdissidents who want to protect themselves from recrimination, censors and surveillance. The handbook, partly funded by French government, is meant help cyberactivists with handy tips and technical advice on how to get round censorship and surveillance by strategizing the uses of blogs for various situations.
What are the consequences of Web 2.0 for Networked Publics—not this academic group but rather our object of study? Web 2.0 is based around the model of consumers becoming active producers, not only creating their own content but actively remixing content themselves. In that, Web 2.0 splendidly embodies Roland Barthes's concept of the writerly text replacing the readerly text. Depending on your epistemological paradigm, the web has moved from the classical era to the modern era, or from the modern to the postmodern. But the jury is still out on Web 2.0's consequence to social structures. In a response to an essay by danah boyd, I suggest that if Web 2.0 will lead to greater bonds between dispersed localities based on interest and lifestyle communities, it may well also lead to a greater disconnect between individuals in close physical proximity.