Digital technology presents an often bewildering array of choices for journalists - producing slideshows and video, joining social networks and blogging, using map mashups and mobile devices. The list seems endless.
But survival requires understanding all these new technologies so journalists and news organizations can make informed decisions about why and how to utilize them (see Blogs, Tweets, Social Media, and the News Business, in Nieman Reports).
This article documents the history of online journalism, charting its rise with the internet boom of the mid-1990s and its subsequent decline and stabilization within the present news media market. This history is situated within the larger trajectories of contemporary journalism, paying particular attention to changes in the existing political economic structure of the industry as it assumes digital form, the resultant variations in content and presentation, and the implications for the health of the free press. In the final analysis, this article argues that the move to an online format has exacerbated negative trends that have dogged print journalism for decades. It also extends an existing critique of hyper-commercial journalism by developing the arguments to treat the new institutions and conventions of the digital marketplace.
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