[Air-l] News & the Net: special issue of refereed journal online now

Graham Meikle graham.meikle at mq.edu.au
Sun Jun 18 22:55:16 PDT 2006

New issue of Scan <http://scan.net.au/scan/index.php>  available now
Vol. 3 no. 1 June 2006

Edited by Chris Atton & Graham Meikle

"Introduction: News and the Net: Convergences and Divergences"
Axel Bruns <http://scan.net.au/scan/journal/display.php?journal_id=69>
offers a measured analysis of the Wikinews project, suggesting that the
early evidence points to something of a missed opportunity. Bruns assesses
Wikinews against some of the best available criteria for evaluating
participatory news websites (including his own concept of Œgatewatching¹),
and in the process provides a concise overview of the key characteristics of
the most innovative online news projects, such as Slashdot and Indymedia.

Greg Elmer, Zach Devereaux and David Skinner
<http://scan.net.au/scan/journal/display.php?journal_id=72> apply some
experimental software tools and research methods to the automated Google
News portal. Uncovering the extent to which large commercial news providers
are highly ranked in Google News searches, and the degree to which such news
is re-purposed newspaper content, the authors¹ conclusion points to an
extension of the reach and influence of the established news media in the
online environment.

Lee Salter <http://scan.net.au/scan/journal/display.php?journal_id=70>
examines the pressures that impose limits on the kinds of participatory
media democracy to which the Indymedia movement aspires. Salter adduces
examples from around the world of government intervention in relation to the
activities of Indymedia collectives, emphasising the need to consider such
alternative Net news projects as embedded within spaces which are not only
economically but also politically regulated.

Trish Bolton <http://scan.net.au/scan/journal/display.php?journal_id=71>
makes the case for a political economy perspective in assessing the Net¹s
capacity to enable a more plural news environment. She notes how commercial
business models are implicated in such much-cited examples of alternative
online journalism as Crikey and the Webdiary forum started by Margo Kingston
during her time at the Sydney Morning Herald. Bolton also points to the
reality that many news blogs and alternative sites lack the resources to
generate original reporting.

Megan Boler <http://scan.net.au/scan/journal/display.php?journal_id=73>
examines the media event in which Jon Stewart, the host of Comedy Central¹s
The Daily Show, appeared as a guest on CNN¹s Crossfire and delivered a
damning indictment of television journalism. Clips of Stewart¹s appearance
have been downloaded millions of times, and the event was by some measures
the most-cited media story in the blogosphere for 2004. Boler traces the
Stewart event¹s iteration through the blogosphere, raising questions about
the uses of satire in news commentary, and examining some key ways in which
convergent media forms are being used to create new spaces and networks for
political discussion.

Taken together these papers offer a sobering corrective to anyone still
inclined towards enthusiastic generalisations about the Net¹s potential.
Arising from this work is a concern with missed opportunities and with the
encroachment of the established news media on the possibilities of the Net.

Dr Graham Meikle

Lecturer, Department of Media,
Division of Society, Culture, Media and Philosophy,
Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia.

tel: (61 2) 9850-6899
fax: (61 2) 9850-6776
email: <graham.meikle at mq.edu.au>

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