by Rina Brundu. Ten years ago when I first created the phrase “giornalismo online” (online journalism), I remember running a search on the Internet and not finding a single entry on the subject. Yet, it seemed obvious to me! What was obvious? It was obvious that with the arrival of digital writing and, most of all, with the arrival of technology that would allow writers, journalists, bloggers to inform or express themselves “urbi et orbi” the world of communication the way we had known it up to that moment was going to change altogether. And forever.
So it happened, although this change is still a work-in-progress and it has not been completed yet. As a matter of fact this sort of Communicational Revolution will only finish when the “traditional” production will stop. And it will stop not because publishing on a paper-template will be too costly, but it will stop because there will be a sort of natural moral-constraint that will “force” publishers and editors not to proceed along that line. Ever heard of the motto: think of the environment before printing? Well, that enlightened statement will eventually change slightly and will read “Think of the environment before publishing!”.
Having said that the impact of this revolution will be massive, much of its effect can be seen already at work today. Never before have the rules of journalism been stretched in such a way as to allow literally anyone of us to be, to feel a “journalist” at least once in a lifetime. You report, you rule! Obviously you can “report” and “rule” only if you were born with a natural “instinct” for whatever is newsworthy and if, at the same time, you were born “opinionated”, which in the journalistic world is far from being a “bad way of being”. It’s my opinion, in fact, that journalists are born not made and it’s my opinion that this simple statement should also be the manifesto of the new digital journalism.
This is because, although the production-platform has changed, moving from a paper-based to an electronic one, what should continue to make the real difference should always be the human-touch. In other words, what should continue to make the real difference is the human-input while it strives to provide clear, objective and honest information to its fellow human-beings. Furthermore, with the awarding of the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 and 2011 to the site Propublica.org we also know that digital journalism has made great progress during the recent years and it has been formally recognised as the true-heir of the epic journalism made great by the many Woodwards and Bernsteins of this world.
On the other hand, there is also no doubt that from a technical perspective digital journalism works in a very different way from traditional journalism. The analyses of its behavioural features will therefore be the at the core of many articles that I will write in the English language too, on this quite fascinating subject.
Featured image, a photo of the Watergate Complex taken from a DC-9-80 inbound to Washington National Airport on January 8, 2006. Source for Rosebud, Wikipedia.
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