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Handbooks in Communication and Media

This series aims to provide theoretically ambitious but accessible volumes devoted to the major fields and subfields within communication and media studies. Each volume sets out to ground and orientate the student through a broad range of specially commissioned chapters, while also providing the more experienced scholar and teacher with a convenient and comprehensive overview of the latest trends and critical directions.

The Handbook of Children, Media, and Development, edited by Sandra L. Calvert and Barbara J. Wilson

The Handbook of Crisis Communication, edited by W. Timothy Coombs and Sherry J. Holladay

The Handbook of Internet Studies, edited by Mia Consalvo and Charles Ess

The Handbook of Rhetoric and Public Address, edited by Shawn J. Parry-Giles and J. Michael Hogan

The Handbook of Critical Intercultural Communication, edited by Thomas K. Nakayama and Rona Tamiko Halualani

The Handbook of Global Communication and Media Ethics, edited by Robert S. Fortner and P. Mark Fackler

The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility, edited by Øyvind Ihlen, Jennifer Bartlett and Steve May

The Handbook of Gender, Sex, and Media, edited by Karen Ross

The Handbook of Global Health Communication, edited by Rafael Obregon and Silvio Waisbord

The Handbook of Global Media Research, edited by Ingrid Volkmer

The Handbook of Global Online Journalism, edited by Eugenia Siapera and

Andreas Veglis


The Handbook of International Advertising Research, edited by Hong Cheng

The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Reputation, edited by Craig E. Carroll


Notes on Contributors

Stuart Allan is professor of journalism in the Media School, Bournemouth University, UK, where he is also the Director of the Centre for Journalism and Communication Research. He has published widely on a range of topics, including the emergence and development of news on the Internet, the online reporting of war, conflict and crisis, science journalism (special interest in nanotechnology), and citizen journalism. He is currently conducting a research study examining the use of digital imagery in news reporting during times of crisis. His most recent book, Citizen Witnessing, will be published by Polity later this year.

José A. García-Avilés (Infotendencias Group) is the head of the Journalism Section of the University Miguel Hernández de Elche (Spain), where he teaches media and communication. He holds a BA from the University of Ireland and a PhD in journalism from the University of Navarra. He has been researching on media convergence since 2002 and has published extensively on newsroom convergence in Spain and in the European media. He lectures in the International Media Innovation Management MA based in Berlin and has been visiting scholar at the Columbia University Journalism School (New York). He is a member of the Infotendencias Research Group and currently researches on innovation in cross-media newsrooms.

Olga Guedes Bailey is a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, UK. She is the programme leader of the MA “Media and Globalization.” She is the chair of the section “Migration, Diaspora and Media” of the European Communication Research and Education Association – ECREA. She has published essays on global audiences, environmentalism, journalistic practice, alternative media, race and representation, the politics of communication of ethnic minorities and diasporas in western societies, African women asylum-seekers and refugees: identity, agency and belonging, the web as technology of representation and resistance. Her most recent books include an edited collection Transnational Lives and the Media: Re-imagining Diasporas (Palgrave, 2007), and a co-authored book titled Understanding Alternative Media (Open University, 2008).

Paul Bradshaw is an online journalist and blogger and a visiting professor at City University’s School of Journalism in London. He manages his own blog, the Online Journalism Blog (OJB), and is the co-founder of HelpMeInvestigate, an investigative journalism web site funded by Channel 4 and Screen WM. He has written for, Press Gazette, the Guardian’s Data Blog, InPublishing, Nieman Reports and the Poynter Institute in the USA. He is the co-author of the Online Journalism Handbook (Longman, 2011) with former Financial Times web editor Liisa Rohumaa, and of Magazine Editing (Routledge, 2011, third edition) with John Morrish. Other books that Bradshaw has contributed to include Investigative Journalism (Routledge, 2008, second edition), Web Journalism: A New Form of Citizenship (Sussex Academic Press, 2010), and Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives (Peter Lang, 2009). Bradshaw has been listed in’s list of the leading innovators in journalism and media and Poynter’s most influential people in social media. In 2010, he was shortlisted for Multimedia Publisher of the Year and in 2011 ranked ninth in PeerIndex’s list of the most influential UK journalists on Twitter. Bradshaw is also a graduate of Birmingham City University (then the University of Central England), where he studied media from 1995 to 1998.

Andy Brightwell is a journalist and blogger, who now spends most of his time as a consultant, helping clients to understand online communications and social media. Andrew started his journalism career in 2002 as a reporter and later subeditor at the Hampstead & Highgate Express in North London. In 2008, he moved to Dubai, where he worked for the Time Out franchise in the Arabian Gulf, becoming its chief subeditor. Andrew then returned to the UK to study with Paul Bradshaw at Birmingham City University, where he became one of Paul’s first students to be awarded an MA in Online Journalism. He has since worked in Birmingham with Podnosh, the consultancy firm set up by former BBC journalist Nick Booth, and is now the online communities manager for Public-i in Brighton, where he advises public-sector organizations on their relationship with the UK’s growing community of bloggers and online journalists. You can find him on Twitter @andbwell.

Axel Bruns is an associate professor in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, and a chief investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI). Bruns is the author of Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008) and Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (2005), and the editor of Uses of Blogs with Joanne Jacobs (2006; all released by Peter Lang, New York). Bruns leads a CCI research project to develop innovative new methods to track and analyze public online communication using social media such as blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr – see for more information. Bruns’s research web site is at , and he tweets at @snurb_dot_info.

João Canavilhas has a BA in communication sciences (Universidade da Beira Interior, Portugal) and a PhD in audiovisual communication (Universidad de Salamanca, Spain). He has been a professor at the Universidade da Beira Interior since 2000, and is editor of URBI, the first online university newspaper in Portugal, and researcher at Labcom – Laboratório de Comunicação e Conteúdos On-Line (classification FCT: very good). He has authored or co-authored three books and is author of more than 40 papers in national and international scientific journals. His research work focuses on various aspects of “communication and new technologies,” particularly in the field of web journalism and social networks.

João Carlos Correia is associate professor in the Communication and Arts Department of the University of Beira Interior. He undertook post-doctoral studies at University Pompeu Fabra (2008; Barcelona). He received his PhD in communication sciences (UBI, 2001). Currently he is Director of the scientific journal Communication Studies and chair of the Working Group of Political Communication of the Portuguese Society of Communication, as well as director of the Master’s course in strategic communication at University of Beira Interior. His research areas are journalism studies, media, public sphere and deliberation, communication, and citizenship. João has published several books, articles, and book chapters.

David Domingo is senior lecturer in online journalism at the Department of Communication Studies of Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spain). He was visiting assistant professor at the University of Iowa (2007–2008) and a visiting researcher at the University of Tampere (2010) as a member of the EU FP7 project “Media Accountability and Transparency in Europe.” He has researched online journalists’ professional ideology and working routines, and the dynamics of innovations such as participatory journalism and convergence. He co-edited Making Online News: The Ethnography of New Media Production (with Chris Paterson, Peter Lang, 2008 and 2011) and co-authored Audience Participation in Online Newspapers: Guarding Open Gates (with Jane Singer and others, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011).

Ivar John Erdal is an associate professor at the Faculty of Media and Journalism, Volda University College. Some of his earlier publications include “Coming to terms with convergence journalism: Cross-media as a theoretical and analytical concept,” Convergence (2011), “Repurposing of content in multi-platform news production,” Journalism Practice (2009), and “Cross-media (re)production cultures,” Convergence (2009). He is currently working on a project on innovative uses of media technology in situated learning processes.

Natalie Fenton is a professor in media and communications and joint head of department in the Department of Media and Communication, Goldsmiths, University of London. She is co-director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre (where she is part of a team researching issues relating to the news) and co-director of Goldsmiths Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy. She has published widely on issues relating to news, journalism, civil society, radical politics, and new media, and is particularly interested in rethinking understandings of public culture, the public sphere and democracy. Her latest book, New Media, Old News: Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age (ed.) is published by Sage, 2010. Her forthcoming books are Misunderstanding the Internet (with James Curran and Des Freedman) published by Routledge in 2012 and New Media and Radical Politics, published by Polity.

Andreas Giannakoulopoulos is a lecturer in the Department of Audio and Visual Arts at the Ionian University, where he teaches courses related to Internet communication, new media and web technologies. He holds a BA in economics from the University of Athens (UoA), a BA in communication and media studies from UoA, a Master of Arts in communication and media studies from UoA, and a master of science in logic from the University of Amsterdam. His doctoral dissertation, approved by the University of Athens, was in the field of web accessibility. The main field of his academic activities is computer mediated communication and, especially, web development technologies. His research interests focus on information architecture, web-based media, content management platforms, and e-learning systems as means of effective communication via the web. Web site:

Thomas Hanitzsch is professor of communication at the Institute of Communication Studies and Media Research, University of Munich, Germany. A former journalist, his teaching and research focuses on global journalism cultures, war coverage, celebrity news, and comparative methodology. He has authored or edited six books, including The Handbook of Journalism Studies (Routledge, 2009) and The Handbook of Comparative Communication Research (Routledge, 2012). His work has been published in major communication journals and edited volumes. Thomas is currently editor-in-chief of Communication Theory, and serves as vice-chair of the Journalism Studies Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA). He is currently leading the “Worlds of Journalism Study,” a massive multinational survey of journalists (see ), and is involved in several other comparative projects.

Heikki Heikkilä is senior research fellow at the Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication (COMET), University of Tampere, Finland. He is the national project leader of the EU FP7 project “Media Accountability and Transparency in Europe” (MediaAcT). He has studied transformations of journalistic practice cultures both in the national and comparative contexts. He has published articles, for instance, in Journalism: Theory, Practice, and Criticism, European Journal of Communication, Journalism Practice and Javnost (Public). Currently, he coordinates the audience research project “Towards Engaging Journalism.”

Alfred Hermida is an award-winning online news pioneer, digital media scholar, and journalism educator. He is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia, Canada. His research interests include participa­tory journalism, social media, and emerging genres of digital journalism, with his work appearing in Journalism Practice, Journalism Studies and New Media and Society. He is a co-author of the book, Participatory Journalism: Guarding Open Gates at Online Newspapers (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). Hermida spent 16 years as a journalist at the BBC, including four as a correspondent in the Middle East, and was a founding news editor of the BBC News web site in 1997. He has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, The Globe and Mail, CBC, and NPR, and authors an award-winning blog at

Stelios Kouloglou is an author and director of several documentaries including the award-winning: “Communism: The Great Utopia of the 20th Century” (Best Greek Documentary, 2000, Eurocomenius Award, 2000, for Best European Historic Documentary), “The Death Match” (Eurocomenius Award, 2002) and “Whistleblowers.” He is director of the French-German ARTE channel and producer of “Reportage Without Frontiers,” a weekly current affairs and documentary series broadcast by the Greek National Television channel, which has been voted best informative program on Greek television in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. He was “Journalist of the Year” in 2006 and 2007, and has worked as a special envoy in the former Yugoslavia (1993–1995), and as a correspondent in Paris (1983–1984) and Moscow for the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (1988–1993). He has written more than 150 scripts for documentaries and is author of eight books, winning “Writer of the Year, 2002” for his best-selling novel Never Go to the Post Office Alone. Stelios Kouloglou is the founder and CEO of the web news portal “Television without Frontiers” (TVXS, ).

Farooq A. Kperogi is an assistant professor of journalism and citizen media at Kennesaw State University, USA. He received his BA in mass communication from Bayero University Kano, Nigeria, his MS in communication from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA, and his PhD in communication from Georgia State University. He was the managing editor of the Atlanta Review of Journalism History. He has also previously worked as a reporter, news editor, presidential speech writer/researcher, and journalism instructor at two colleges in Nigeria, and writes two weekly newspaper columns. He has published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on citizen media, online journalism, diasporic media, indigenous language media, and the rhetoric of cybercrime. Dr Kperogi has won many academic laurels, including the Nigerian Television Authority Prize for the “Best Graduating Student in Mass Communication,” the University of Louisiana’s “Outstanding Master’s Student in Communication” award, and Georgia State University’s top PhD student award in communication.

Francisco Paulo Jamil Marques is a lecturer at the Federal University of Ceará, Brazil. Marques has a PhD in communication studies (Federal University of Bahia, Brazil). In 2006 he was a visiting scholar at Saint Louis University, USA. Over the last years his research interests have focused on political journalism and on the political uses of new media. His latest publications include “Government and e-participation programs: A study of the challenges faced by institutional projects” (First Monday Journal, 2010), and a co-edited book titled Internet and Political Participation in Brazil (Editora Sulina, 2011). E-mail:

Pere Masip (Infotendencias Group) is a senior lecturer at the Blanquerna School of Communication of Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona. He holds a PhD in journalism from Universitat Ramon Llull, and he also holds two degrees in history and information science from the University of Barcelona. Pere Masip co-leads the Digilab research group. His research interests are online journalism and the impact of digital technologies on journalistic practice. He teaches online journalism and information management, he has previously taught at the University of Vic and at the Open University of Catalonia.

John O’Sullivan, PhD, lectures in journalism at the School of Communications, Dublin City University, where he has served as chair of the MA in Journalism program. With a background in national newspapers, specializing in coverage of information and communications technologies (ICTs) and in production journalism, he also has experience of technology magazine editing and of online publishing ventures. He has taught in a wide range of journalism-related subjects, including feature writing, news design and online journalism, as well as media, communication, and technology. His research interests are focused in particular on the interplay between journalism, classic media, and the Internet, especially in relation to professional roles, media platforms, and interactivity. He was a founding vice-chair of the Journalism Studies section of ECREA.

Steve Paulussen, PhD, is lecturer in journalism studies at the University of Antwerp and the Erasmus University College in Brussels, Belgium, and senior researcher at the IBBT research group for Media and ICT at Ghent University. He has published research on different issues in the field of journalism and new media, including young people’s media usage, online journalism, newsroom convergence, and the profile of professional journalists. He is one of the eight authors of Participatory Journalism: Guarding Open Gates at Online Newspapers (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011).

Thorsten Quandt is a professor of communication studies with a specialization in interactive media and online communication at the University of Hohenheim, Germany. Prior to joining the University of Hohenheim, he worked as a lecturer and researcher at the Free University, Berlin, the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, and the Technical University, Ilmenau. His research and teaching fields include online communication, media innovation research, and journalism. He has served as the chair of the research network‚ “Integrative Theories in Communication Studies” (DFG, German Science Foundation), as the chair of the Journalism Division in the German Communication Association (DGPuK), and as the secretary of the Journalism Studies Division in the International Communication Association (ICA). He is also the founding chair of the TWG “Digital Games Research” of ECREA.

Sue Robinson. After a dozen years as a journalist, Sue Robinson received her PhD from Temple University in 2007 and became an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She studies online journalism, new technologies, and issues relating to information authority.

Ramón Salaverría (Infotendencias Group) has a PhD in journalism and is the head of the Journalism Projects Department at the University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain). He has also been the chair of the Journalism Studies Section of ECREA (2010–2012). He is a senior lecturer on new media and newswriting, and is involved in several research projects about online journalism. He is the author of many publications about media convergence, one of his most relevant works on this issue is the book Integrated journalism. Media Convergence and Newsroom Organization (Editorial Sol90 Media, 2009).

Lee Salter is the programme manager for the journalism award at the University of the West of England. His research centers on the social and political relations of journalism, particularly in terms of political radicalism and the online environment. His most recent book is Digital Journalism (with co-author Janet Jones), published by Sage in 2011.

Kostas Saltzis is a lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester, UK. Prior to that he has worked as a senior lecturer at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (2006–2008) and as a journalist in Greece (1995–1999). He obtained his first degree in journalism and communication studies from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (1998), an MSc in media management at the University of Stirling, UK (2000) and a PhD at the University of Leicester. Kostas’ research interests include the study of journalism, new media, and the management of news organizations. He is particularly interested in the impact of technology on news production, and the emergence of new types of journalism such as ‘blogging’ and ‘citizen reporting’. His recent publications include articles on journalistic multiskilling and the integration of online and offline newsrooms. He is currently teaching a number of postgraduate and undergraduate modules in the Department of Media and Communication, and he is course director for the MA in new media and society.

Steve Schifferes is Marjorie Deane professor of financial journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at City University London, and director of the new MA program in financial journalism. Steve is a former economics correspondent for BBC News web site and was involved in its design and development from its inception. Steve has also been a visiting fellow at Columbia University’s Journalism School and a Reuters fellow at Green College, Oxford and the Oxford Internet Institute. He has published on the role of the online media in elections, on the role of the UK media in the financial crisis, and is currently working on a long-term project on the media coverage of crises in historical and comparative perspective.

Jin Shang earned his PhD in 2010 from the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester, and is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the School of Government at the Peking University. He is also a research assistant at the Beijing Development Institute of the same University, and a senior consultant at the Institute of Engineering at Digital China Holdings Limited. In addition, Jin Shang is the chief editor of China Information Times, which is the official publication (a state-level publication) of China Information Industry Association (CIIA). Jin Shang’s current main research interests include: philosophy of technology, political economy of IT/ICTs; digital economy and digital city; ICTs and environment; ICTs and rural development; social media and digital citizenship; Internet governance and territorial sovereignty; blogging and digital journalism; new media and digital collaboration, and so on.

Eugenia Siapera is a lecturer in new media and online journalism at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Her research interests include online journalism, political communication and political theory, multiculturalism, and the new media. She is the author of Understanding New Media (Sage, 2011) and Cultural Diversity and Global Media (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) and the editor of Radical Democracy and the Internet (with Lincoln Dahlberg, Palgrave, 2007) and At the Interface (with Joss Hands, Rodopi, 2004). She has published several articles and book chapters on a range of topics including journalism, multiculturalism and the Internet, political blogs, new media and Islam, and so on.

Lia-Paschalia Spyridou received her BA in journalism and mass communication from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. In 2000 she obtained an MA in communication from the University of Westminster in London, and in 2009 she was awarded a doctoral degree from the Aristotle University. She worked as a journalist for ten years, taught as an adjunct lecturer in the Journalism and Mass Communication Department of the Aristotle University, and participated in several research projects. She was appointed lecturer and head of the Communication Department at New York College/Thessaloniki (2007–2011). Currently she is working as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Macedonia and as a research associate at the Cyprus University of Technology. Her research interests revolve around online and participatory journalism, interactive forms of communication, and the development and impact of social media on journalism and communication.

Neil Thurman is a senior lecturer in the Graduate School of Journalism at City University London. He directed their successful Master’s in electronic publishing from 1999 to 2004 and continues to teach on that program as well as leading a new Erasmus Mundus Master’s in journalism, media, and globalization. Neil’s other work on online journalism has appeared in: Convergence, Journalism Practice, Journalism Studies, Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, New Media & Society, and in Garrett Monaghan and Sean Tunney’s Web Journalism: A New Form of Citizenship.

Iraklis Varlamis is a lecturer at the Department of Informatics and Telematics of Harokopio University of Athens. He received his PhD in computer science from Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece. From 1999 to 2004, he was a member of the DB-NET () research group and since 2005 he has been collaborating with the WIM () research group. His research interests vary from data mining and the use of semantics in web mining to virtual communities and their applications in education and healthcare. He has published several articles in international journals and conferences, concerning web document clustering, the use of semantics in web link analysis and web usage mining, word sense disambiguation using thesauruses, virtual communities in healthcare, and so on. He has lectured on databases and data mining, information systems, and software technology as a lecturer and visiting lecturer at Harokopio University of Athens, Athens University of Economics and Business, the University of Peloponnese, the University of Central Greece, and the University of Aegean. More information is available at .

Andreas Veglis is associate professor and head of the Media Informatics Lab in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He is the author or co-author of 10 books, has published dozens of papers in peer-reviewed journals, and has presented over 50 papers in international and national conferences on various media-related topics. He is the editor of one scientific journal, member of the editorial board of another scientific journal, and he has been a member of the scientific committee of 25 international conferences. He has been involved in various national and European research projects.

Richard van der Wurff (PhD) is researcher at The Amsterdam School of Communi­cations Research (ASCoR) of the University of Amsterdam. He studies – from a media-economic and media management point of view – how market forces interact with professional values and determine the diversity and quality of news and information, both off- and online. He coordinated a European COST research network that studied the impact of the Internet on newspapers, conducted studies for the Dutch Press Fund, the Media Ombudsman Netherlands, and the Dutch Publishers Association, and worked as visiting researcher for the European Commission. His publications appear, inter alia, in the Journal of Media Economics, the European Journal of Communication, the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, and New Media and Society.

Hao Zhang is an experienced journalist and editor in China. He gained his first degree in journalism at Nanjing Institute of Politics and a Master’s degree in mass communi­cation from the University of Leicester, UK. He is currently doing research as part of his PhD studies in political communication and new media. This research primarily focuses on the characteristics of China’s political blogs. However, observing political blogs leads to the secondary, broader landscape, which is the role of political blogs within China’s media system and online political communication. There are other interesting and relevant issues, such as the current development of Internet media, and the effects of local culture on political communication. Hao has published on issues pertaining to political communication, Internet governance, and Internet innovation.


Introduction: The Evolution of Online Journalism

Eugenia Siapera and Andreas Veglis

In 1993, a couple of months after the launch of the first web browser, Mosaic, the University of Florida’s Journalism Department launched what is generally considered to be the first online journalism web site. It was a very basic, static web site, with a picture of the red-bricked wall of the Journalism Department. It was updated only occasionally, at nights and weekends, when the machine was not in use by others, running on a 486–25 processor with 4 megabytes of random access memory (RAM). About a year later, in November 1994, The UK’s Daily Telegraph launched the Electronic Telegraph, which was a similarly static page, with articles one on top of the other. The online publication followed the rhythm of print publishing, posting online contents once a day. In a 2001 article, Derek Bishton detailed the Electronic Telegraph’s remit: to explore the new medium, its technological and commercial possibilities, as well as the scope for the launch of the Telegraph as an online brand (Bishton, 2001). And in this rather slow, uneventful manner began the history of online journalism, and the creation of a new kind of journalism that has changed the face of journalism forever.

The 20 years or so since then have seen developments that were both gradual, such as the slow adoption of the Internet’s features of hyperlinking, interactivity, and multimediality, and radical, as witnessed by the shift toward the participatory web and social media. The initial reluctance of journalistic sites to employ these features was eventually replaced with unfettered enthusiasm, while more recently no self-respecting journalistic site remains without a blog, a Facebook, and Twitter account. Thus, the relationship between the new media and journalism, which began in fits and starts, has become a close embrace to the extent that it is difficult to imagine an exclusively offline journalism. Theorists, practitioners, students, and readers/consumers/users of online journalism are all involved and have a stake in this relationship, and seek to understand how journalism is changing, their respective positions in it, the various directions it takes, the ways in which it is practiced, and the implications these may have in public and social life.

It is therefore this relationship that this book attempts to document, map, and understand. It is this relationship and its trajectories across a globalized world that it examines and presents. But this relationship, as with all relationships, has its issues. As an entry point to these issues, this introductory chapter traces the evolution of online journalism. The word evolution is used to denote the ways in which some aspects of journalism were inherited through a kind of “natural selection” and some sub-species of journalism have become or may be about to become extinct, while others may be thought of as genetic mutations. But all these contribute to the dynamism and eventual survival of journalism.

This chapter will discuss the history and evolution of online journalism, as well as the development of the “species” itself, tracing the various traits and characteristics and the ways in which these may have changed. This will be followed by a section mapping research into online journalism, concluding with a discussion of the rationale and structure of this Handbook.

On Dinosaurs, Extinction, and Mutations

The Wikipedia entry for “Evolution” lists the three main premises for natural selection as follows: firstly, there is more offspring than can possibly survive; secondly, traits vary among individuals, leading to different rates of survival and reproduction; and thirdly, trait differences can be inherited. But natural selection is not the only means by which evolution proceeds: there is extinction, in which a whole or a sub-species disappears, making way for other species to appear or thrive, but also mutation, whereby a sudden and spontaneous change occurs in the constitutive parts of an organism.

The most famous case of extinction is of course that of dinosaurs, a diverse species, whose life spanned over 160 million years only to come to a mysterious end about 65 million years ago. The exact cause of their extinction is still under discussion. Among the most likely explanations is an asteroid crash that led to their sudden demise, their failure to evolve brains and brain functions to adapt to their changing environment, and the pressure to survive in a challenging environment increased their stress level to the extent that led to their eventual shrinking and demise (see ). What is beyond dispute, however, is that their extinction made way for the rise of a new species, the mammals, who currently dominate the earth. On the other hand, while most dinosaurs disappeared with no trace, a particular family of dinosaurs, the Manuraptora, which includes the velociraptor, a small, fast and agile dinosaur, is generally considered to be the ancestor of birds, another hugely successful and thriving species. Extinction and adaptation feed into new life and/or the prolongation of older forms of life, while sudden changes, failure to adapt, and increased stress are very likely to have contributed to extinction.

This brief excursus on dinosaurs provides an instructive analogy with the current fate of some of the many species of journalism. The parallels are many: just like dinosaurs, traditional journalism, and print journalism more particularly, dominated for over 300 years. Just like dinosaurs, it faced a (more or less) sudden threat: the rise of the Internet and digital content platforms; it has difficulties developing new functions to adapt to a changing environment; it faces prolonged stress due to a decrease in profits and an increasingly competitive environment. Will it survive or will it go the way of the dinosaurs?

Looking at the theory of evolution, alongside the history of online journalism, we can argue that some species may become extinct, while others may adapt to their environment. The extinction may pave the way for new kinds to emerge, while adaptation may lead to interesting and perhaps more robust forms of journalism. We can therefore examine the major traits that were inherited by the previous species, but also the new traits that have emerged, as well as their combination, which informs the new species. Finally, we can examine the mutations that have occurred, which may take the species into an entirely new direction: social media and open source/citizen journalism.

To begin with, it is now clear that newspaper and print journalism more specifically cannot continue in the same way as if nothing has changed in the last 20 years or so. For almost 300 years it followed more or less the same principles, the same routines of production, the same 24-hour news rhythm, the same way of addressing its audiences, the same structures for reporting the news. But now this is no longer possible: journalism’s environment has changed dramatically and journalism needs to develop new functions to adapt to this environment. If it does not, it will face the fate of dinosaurs. But, it is also clear that journalism is beginning to take on new features, expanding on its strengths and developing new ones, designed to adapt to its environment. It may be seen that it has bequeathed to its “descendants” its main traits and characteristics such as reporting facts, and providing informed analysis, comment, and opinion.

More specifically, the key “traits”, values, or defining characteristics of journalism, as listed by Deuze (2005: 447), drawing on Kovach and Rosenstiel (2001) include: (i) that journalism provides a public service, typically in the form of collecting, collating, and disseminating information to the public; (ii) that journalism is objective and fair and therefore credible; (iii) that it is autonomous from vested interests; (iv) that it has a sense of immediacy and the ‘newest’ news; and (v) that it has an ethics of what is and what is not appropriate. These traits may form the backbone of journalism, but the reality of a fast developing technology, as well as socio-political and economic changes, means that journalism needs to reinterpret these values or traits in new ways in order to adapt to this environment. Indeed, new technologies are analogous to an asteroid crashing, with journalism feeling the ripple effect years later: new developments pose important challenges for journalism’s key traits, which may no longer suffice for its survival.

Public service is typically understood in terms of a top-down approach that journalism knows and can serve the public’s needs. However, as Deuze (2005) has argued, new technologies and new media have fragmented publics, which may have diverse understandings of their needs and interests. Here, the politics of journalism need to be rethought, and journalism must reinterpret its political functions in both a pragmatic and a normative manner (see Chapter 7 for a critique, and Chapters 6, 8, and 9 for alternative and radical reinterpretations). Objectivity and fairness may remain as guiding principles, but in the days of blogs and user-generated content, they are increasingly under strain; journalism’s credibility must be reinterpreted, perhaps through a reworking of accountability practices (see Chapter 15). Autonomy is a much-discussed value in journalism, praised by some (e.g. Bourdieu, 1999), but criticized by others (e.g. Schudson, 2005). The new media have had a very ambiguous impact on journalistic autonomy, as, on the one hand, they offer journalists the possibility to operate independently, outside the confines of media corporations, but on the other hand, the proliferation of journalistic content on the Internet removes autonomy as it removes sources of funding that may have allowed independent investigative journalism. New, innovative ways of reinterpreting autonomy as collaboration or open source may fill in the void created (see Chapters 14 and 16). However, one thing that technology has done is to amplify the sense of immediacy that pervades journalism: scoops and new stories are broken every minute or so, while there is continuous coverage on Twitter and Facebook or live blogs running from newspapers such as the Guardian. Journalistic ethics is an area that needs urgent reconsideration due to the proliferation of online contents. At the same time, more broadly speaking, journalism ethics may be seen as a strategy by which journalists seek to exclude or discredit others who they consider are impinging on their “turf;” from this point of view, ethics is a kind of symbolic capital, mobilized in order to safeguard journalistic status and prestige (see Chapter 5).

While online journalism can be seen as a case of adaptation to the new environment through a reinterpretation of journalism’s main traits and values, this is but one of three evolutionary possibilities. The second one is the genesis of a new kind of journalism that has its own characteristics and fits perfectly in the new environment. This kind of journalism has developed its own features and requires a more tailor-made approach to understand its specificity. To an extent, the remit of this Handbook is to provide precisely this: a theoretical and empirically informed understanding of this new species of journalism. New traits, such as multimediality, interactivity, and hyperlinking, the rise of user contents, and the convergence of production, lead to an online journalism that is characterized by personalization (see Chapter 20), a different news-story structure (see Chapter 19), and which has been described as experiential and/or ambient (see Chapters 4 and 17, respectively) and which has its own values and conditions for excellence (Chapter 3).

The third evolutionary possibility is that of mutation. Here, journalism mutates into something new, different, and which may open new horizons. Mutations may occur randomly and in a random pattern. They may however be attributed to specific changes in the environment. In connection with online journalism, we can observe at least two such major changes: in the economics of online journalism (see Chapter 13) and in its production norms (see Chapter 2). The proliferation of business models detailed by Richard van der Wurff in this volume (Chapter 13) in fact implies a loss of economic capital for journalism (see also Chapter 5), while new production modes may be linked to new forms of journalism (see Chapter 9). We can therefore count social media journalism (see Chapter 17) as well as open source journalism (see Chapter 14 on crowdsourcing and Chapters 8 and 9 on Wikileaks) as two such “mutations.”

It would be neat to consider these three descendants of journalism as occurring in distinct phases. And to an extent, they do: the first phase can be seen as one in which journalism sought to impose its own norms and criteria on the new media; a look at the history of online journalism confirms this. The first, static pages of legacy news organizations, such as Cable News Network (CNN), the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Daily Telegraph, and so on, were quickly succeeded by new sites tuned toward multimedia and interactivity. Thus, in a second phase, journalism sought to adapt by importing the features of interactivity, multimediality, and hypertext. In early 2000, Associated Press launched AP Streaming News offering multimedia content. A few months later, the International Herald Tribune launched its new site, which allowed users to flick over page turns and store headlines for viewing later, introducing customization and applying interactivity (Meek, 2006). The immediacy of online news was put to the test on September 11, 2001, when the stunned world turned to the Internet to find out what had happened; sites crashed under the demand, and news editors realized that immediacy is a much prized attribute in the increasingly competitive online news environment. In a third phase, new kinds of journalism emerged out of the new media environment. Two events are considered pivotal for the rise of new kinds of journalism: the Asian tsunami in December 2004 and the terrorist attack in London in July 2005. These two events were reported through the contributions of eyewitnesses, whose photos, videos, and stories appeared in blogs and news sites across the world. The shift of journalism toward a collaborative, open source model through social media was clear. In more recent years, the live and direct reporting of events such as the Mumbai attacks in 2008 (see Chapter 18), the Iranian elections in 2009, and the North African revolts through Facebook and Twitter, cemented the relationship between social media and journalism.

This kind of time-based classification, however, belies a messier development of trial and error, regressions, and resistance. Journalism is following different paths in different settings; sometimes it leaps forward, while in other instances it seems stuck in the past. It is well worth looking at the concrete contexts in which journalism has evolved to understand the complexity of this evolution. Several chapters in this book provide historical and sociological analyses of online journalism in specific contexts, such as Australia (Chapter 22), Brazil (Chapter 21), China (Chapter 26), Germany (Chapter 23), Nigeria (Chapter 24), and the UK (Chapter 25). The different trajectories of journalism in different contexts point to the need to complement theoretical analyses with empirical studies that allow an in-depth understanding of the various paths of online journalism and its future directions.

Online journalism is an increasingly popular topic as recent titles suggest. Research has contributed immensely to our understanding of its shifting present and promising future. The next section will explore recent research with a view to highlighting what we have learned so far.

Reviewing Online Journalism Research

A search using ‘online journalism’ as keywords in Google Scholar returns over 30 000 results, while Google Books returns about 2500 results of books with “online journalism” in their title. This shows the increasing development of research into the field of online journalism and also the difficulty of summarizing and categorizing this growing body of research. Different researchers have used different entry points in reviewing online journalism research. In one of the most recent and comprehensive reviews, Steensen (2011) has explored this research from the prism of the three main new media features of hypertext, interactivity, and multimediality. While Steensen focused on technology, Eugenia Mitchelstein and Pablo Boczkowski recognized the volume and diversity of research into online journalism and wrote two very informative articles, reviewing research on the production and the consumption of online journalism (2009 and 2010), respectively. To these dimensions, we may add the dimension of theory, which cuts across research but which provides a more complete picture of research developments in the field. Theoretical developments increase our in-depth understanding of the past, present, and future of journalism, its internal dynamics and external relationships, as well as the main drivers for its development.

Technologically oriented research