Tag Archives: internet

The Future of News

Parker Busswood
CNET English 100
Aurelea Mahood
March 26, 2010


In his article “The Race,” published in the March/April 2007 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, American journalist and economist Robert Kuttner explores the complex financial and journalistic issues currently facing the ailing newspaper industry. As global Internet usage continues to grow exponentially, newspaper companies are struggling to maintain both readership levels and profitability. While large print newspapers are often part of media conglomerates with millions to invest in digital distribution, mid-sized firms are experiencing much more difficulty transitioning to and profiting from creating digital content. Newspaper publishers that expand their presence to include online and digital offerings of their existing products while ensuring journalistic quality will weather the economic storm facing their industry.

A number of critics of the print news industry argue that the Internet allows the news creation process to be more democratic and interactive, allowing anyone to create and share news material. They make the valid point that online technologies have a powerful ability to draw in the masses and involve them directly in the production and distribution of information. However, they fail to take into account the important role that quality journalism plays in our society, and the impact that skilled, trained writers have on news production. Indeed, Kuttner’s colleague admitted that although the Internet allows him to process more news on a daily basis, he has noticed that “the best material on the Internet consistently comes from Web sites run by print organizations.”

The fact that print newspapers are producing material that is of a much higher calibre than online blogs and other websites substantiates the argument that quality print journalism remains essential in modern society, although not necessarily in its existing form. Newspapers must create quality digital and online content to serve the growing masses who seek out information on the Internet in order to remain relevant and profitable in our digital culture. Although the average profit margins for newspaper divisions have been measured to be 17.8 percent as recently as 2006, “newspaper stocks lagged the S&P 500 … by 21 percent.” This clearly demonstrates the lack of faith that Wall Street has in the newspaper industry in its current state, and illustrates the need for newspaper publishers to re-examine and adapt their business models to become what Kuttner refers to as “print-digital hybrids.”

It remains to be seen if newspapers can maintain their existing print businesses in the future, but there is no doubt that news publishers need to expand their offerings to include online and digital products if they are to survive. In our modern digital culture, it is becoming increasingly important for publishers to embrace technological advancements in order to improve readership, profitability, and investor confidence. The development of print-digital hybrids necessitated by the current economic situation will allow the newspaper industry to survive by fusing technological innovation and journalistic quality. Whether print newspapers remain after this transition is less important than their ability to expand and diversify their businesses “without losing the culture that makes them uniquely valuable.”

Word count: 499


Kuttner, Robert. “The Race: Newspapers can make it to a bright print-digital future after all—but only if they run fast and dodge Wall Street.” Columbia Journalism Review 45.6 (2007): 24-32. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 5 Mar. 2010.

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The Digital Literacy Revolution

Parker Busswood
CNET English 100
Aurelea Mahood
November 27, 2009


Bronwyn T. Williams’ article “‘Tomorrow will not be like today’: Literacy and identity in a world of multiliteracies” explores the beneficial effects of social technologies in terms of teaching young people about identity and literacy. Over time, the various forms of writing and communication used in society have changed significantly, particularly with the advent and subsequent exponential growth of the Internet. The rapid expansion of social networks that resulted from this technological explosion has provided today’s youth with new opportunities to portray their identities and build important literacy skills. This evolution in adolescent communication, and the social technologies responsible for this transformation, should be embraced by educational providers in order to foster a learning environment better suited to this generation’s academic needs.

The general consensus among a considerable number of parents and teachers is that adolescents are putting themselves at risk through their online communication by potentially exposing themselves to negative influences. Many of these people also believe that the Internet provides little educational value to children, and they are concerned about young people lacking social skills from using online sites in lieu of face-to-face communication. As Williams points out, the interactivity involved in online reading and writing demonstrates “how misplaced the concern is that young people sitting at their computers for hours on end are always socially isolated.” Oftentimes, adolescents are employing multiple technologies in order to socialize and in many cases educate themselves online.

Notwithstanding these parental concerns, the implementation of social networking and online communication into the daily routines of today’s young people has contributed to their proficiency with vital topics relating to their educational writings, such as audience and context. The widespread availability of information spanning an infinite range of subject matter allows adolescents to read more than preceding generations, albeit in digital form. Young people are increasingly turning to online media to build their knowledge, necessitating discussions between educators and their students regarding the “rhetorical and literary practices they have learned from reading and writing in diverse online settings,” as Williams suggests. The complex decisions that adolescents make regarding identity while they communicate online contribute to their acquisition of fundamental literacy skills, and teachers should recognize this in order to make their instruction more effective.

The literary proficiency young people develop as they utilize social technologies online can have tremendous educational applications, and this trend should be noted by educational providers in order to refine teaching styles to meet the changing needs of today’s students. Just as the arrival of the printing press brought with it new means by which writers could communicate and develop their literary aptitude, computers and the Internet offer opportunities for students to learn in innovative ways. As the usage of social technologies expands, so too does the need for embracing these online tools in the education system. Adapting instructional methods to adolescents in their acquisition of essential literacy skills will “help them understand the potential for connection and how … it reveals our hope in our common humanity.”

Word count: 498

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Book vs. Machine by Nicholas Fulton

I love a good book as much as the next person. I do however feel that due to recent technologies books aren’t long for this world. We have seen through our studies so far in CultureNet that books and stories and poems can be encountered in so many new and exciting ways through digital mediums. I love computers, tablets, pda’s, and kindles. Does this mean I love machines more than books or is a book just an older form of machine?

A book has moving parts, a purpose it has been programmed to meet, and some code which to draw from. It has the means to reference it at any time to backup one’s own feelings or thoughts and it offers a way to broadcast information from one person to the masses. At first glance it’s like any other digital medium out there. A book has a purpose or message, inside it’s filled with code that follows in a structure we have come to know off by heart, the message is laid out in such a way that it allows for the broadcasting of information to anyone with the knowledge to read it. Once a person has interacted with a book it has served its purpose. Then really what is the difference between a book and a kindle.

Everyone longs for the days of carrying that paperback around with you. Something tangible that offered insight into who you are as a person. Was it a romance novel, a text book on biology, a dictionary, or the works of Emily Dickenson? You could carry this object around with you and escape into it at anytime. Growing technologies have offered other forms of machines to this world of individuality through the object you carry at your side. What do you carry now, an iPod full of personalized music in your own personalized colour. Is it rather a kindle you choose filled with your own choice of readings or a personalized laptop with a 3g USB stick to access what you want when you want?

The importance of books will never fade nor will the idea of what they bound in their covers. A book is information. If we keep this in mind then even with our ever changing technologies we can hold onto this idea of a book. I think with how technology is expanding to become portable, the book is being made more accessible. A world is being created where whenever you write a research paper each citing can be linked to the original through a click of the mouse on the quotation. The possibilities are limitless in the digital world on how to connect or make richer. The creation of a giant web of thoughts is upon us. For now we are leaving the book behind as a way for publishers and writers to make money and stepping forward into a world with a collective ever changing ever expanding book called the internet. Could you imagine a paperless world?

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Networking over "Networks and Artists"

Before the Internet: Networks and Artists
A new show at The Western Front

February 3 – April 10, 2007 Opening: February 2, 2007 8pm

“Before the Internet: Networks and Artists” takes artist network projects prior to the development of the internet as its starting point. The exhibition includes objects, ephemera, and documenation relating to early networked art such as manifestos, correspondence art, Slowscan images, fax transmission, music exchanges, collaborative publications, and documentation for community TV, video and radio projects.

The Western Front is located at 303 East 8th Avenue in Vancouver BC.

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