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ISOJ 2007

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  1. 1. The Cyber-Newsroom:The Cyber-Newsroom: A case study of theA case study of the journalistic paradigm in a newsjournalistic paradigm in a news narrative’s journey from anarrative’s journey from a newspaper to cyberspacenewspaper to cyberspace Sue RobinsonSue Robinson March 2007March 2007
  2. 2. Case Study:Case Study: The Spokesman-ReviewThe Spokesman-Review  Enterprise investigation/coverage ofEnterprise investigation/coverage of Spokane, Wash., Mayor Jim WestSpokane, Wash., Mayor Jim West  May 2005-December 2005May 2005-December 2005 PRINT -- 250 stories -- 200 photos WEB -- All the print stories and photos -- 38 audio, 12 video clips -- 38 documents (internal memos, etc.) -- 428 reader comments in forum -- 78 reader comments in chats -- Access to archives -- Links to Technorati, Google
  3. 3. S. Smith (personal communication)S. Smith (personal communication) The paper wanted to “establish a culture ofThe paper wanted to “establish a culture of transparency. Putting the background materialtransparency. Putting the background material online was just good journalism. We didn’tonline was just good journalism. We didn’t want to hold anything back. We wanted towant to hold anything back. We wanted to throw everything we had at everyone,throw everything we had at everyone, so people would see that we wereso people would see that we were not making this stuff up.not making this stuff up. It was an offensive move on our part.”It was an offensive move on our part.”
  4. 4.  The News Paradigm and Web ofThe News Paradigm and Web of FacticityFacticity  Online changes to traditional structuresOnline changes to traditional structures Research QuestionsResearch Questions 1)1) How did the news narrative of Spokane,How did the news narrative of Spokane, Wash., Mayor Jim West change for theWash., Mayor Jim West change for the newspaper’s website?newspaper’s website? 2) What did these changes indicate about the2) What did these changes indicate about the evolution of the traditional news paradigm inevolution of the traditional news paradigm in the online environment?the online environment?
  5. 5. PRINTPRINT  What/Why: Trickster myth with ‘sanctity ofWhat/Why: Trickster myth with ‘sanctity of authority’ moral but no known motivationauthority’ moral but no known motivation (Themes of justice, hypocrisy, ethics, power)(Themes of justice, hypocrisy, ethics, power)  Where/When: Place of news event (abuse) inWhere/When: Place of news event (abuse) in the pastthe past  Who: Officially sourced (forensic expert);Who: Officially sourced (forensic expert); archetypal characters; neutral journalists asarchetypal characters; neutral journalists as messengersmessengers
  6. 6. “The paper then hired a forensic computer expert in November to help verify the young man’s allegations that West was online. The expert, a former federal agent who asked not to be identified for these stories, has helped track child pornography through the use of online chat technology… RightBi-Guy: “My name is Jim, by the way.” Moto-Brock: “I’m Brock.” RightBi-Guy ends the conversation by telling Moto- Brock that he prefers chatting through America Online’s “instant messaging,” where host monitoring is less likely than on a Web site such as He also says he has to go to a “cancer fund-raising dinner” but would rather remain online with Moto-Brock. Moto-Brock: “Man you have my curiosity up about your job.” RightBi-Guy: “When we meet, I’ll tell you.”
  7. 7. WEBWEB  What/Why: Story of newsgathering for verificationWhat/Why: Story of newsgathering for verification purposespurposes  Where/When: The setting of newsgathering, notWhere/When: The setting of newsgathering, not news event; the timing of the far past superimposednews event; the timing of the far past superimposed over present/immediacy (granulated)over present/immediacy (granulated)  Who: Main characters multi-layered;Who: Main characters multi-layered; readers/journalists as developed charactersreaders/journalists as developed characters
  8. 8. A second-order cyber-A second-order cyber- newsroomnewsroom  A sub-layer of the physical or main (‘first-A sub-layer of the physical or main (‘first- order’) newsroomorder’) newsroom  In this space, journalists shareIn this space, journalists share newsgathering secretsnewsgathering secrets  Citizens and sources negotiate andCitizens and sources negotiate and reproduce news anewreproduce news anew  New narratives form as a resultNew narratives form as a result
  9. 9. News Event (Jim West) Journalism (Spokesman-Review Newsroom) Audiences Cyber-Newsroom Sources Individual Reporters Citizen Contributors Cyber-Newsroom: In this case study, the actions surrounding the Jim West news event, his supporters and detractors, Spokesman-Review reporters, local and national audiences came together in cyberspace. On, news as first gathered by journalists was negotiated by individual sources, reporters, and citizens, who added to the reporting. Such contributions influenced the way this narrative unfolded, and the narrative’s ultimate form.
  10. 10. Possible ImplicationsPossible Implications  Multiple production processes of newsMultiple production processes of news  Multiple and expanded interpretiveMultiple and expanded interpretive communitiescommunities  Multiple repairingsMultiple repairings A shared authority over the news story?A shared authority over the news story?