Sterylized cyberspace

October 14, 2008
The last issue of New Left Review published a text called “Sterilizing cyberspace” , Daniel Miller’s book review of Jonathan Zittrain’s The future of the Internet – And how to stop it. Zittrain is professor of the Oxford Internet Institute of Oxford Universitye and was co-founder of Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. In his book, Zittrain distinguishes two types of Internet user: the traditional one, curiously more flexible, and the iPhone consumer. The first model is generative, the second one is not; all comes pre-programmed.

Jonathan Zittrain and Miller’s book review talk about convergence as well. In Miller’s opinion, this concept fits better than Zittrain’s oposition between generative and esterile models on the Internet. Miller prefer not to consider convergence as a fusion of different information flows in just one integrated system. but consider it as the influence of those technologies in everyday life, because now memory and processor are cheap and centralized institutions are not the only way of socialization. The great problem os Zittrain’n oposition (Miller says that this is a classical liberal point of view) is the oposition between freedom and security, between public and private spheres.

As Jonathan Zittrain says, the great advantage of the Internet is that it has been able to produce “unanticipated changes” like Hotmail, Google, Wikipedia or YouTube, participative systems. The proprietary model treats this fragile ecology. Internet is, thus, both a system that offers great opportunities and a space vulnerable to the trend of the huge market.

PC, says Jonathan Zittrain’s, will be substituted by mobile devices like the iPhone, elegant, multifunctional and… esterile. E-paper devices and e-books are more restrictive.

[Some newspaper entreprises in Europe, concretely in FranceNetherland, Scandinavia, United Kingdom, the United States and Japan, are trying e-paper editions].

Communciation channels are always control channels, in Zittrain’s opinion. Daniel Miller’s review insists on a real problem: whether, as mainstream discours says, internet is a greater space for free ideas and information independent from powers ans institutions, or it is not.

Jonathan Zittrain book reference:

Zittrain, Jonathan. The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It. London: Allen Lane, 2008.

Professional skills

October 14, 2008

A recent reseach by Ryan Thornburg, journalist and professor of online journalism in the University of North Carolina (USA) reveals in its results, as a conclusion after asking of the newspaper of the state about 17 professional skills that the force as a group of the young online journalists is on the ability to interpret news, grammar and AP style, more than on the skills of editing video, sound or HTML.

Some answers: professor Mindy McAdams asks whether the results are the answer to appropriate questions or it is because “many of these folks may have moved straight over from the print side.”

Most of the journalists interviewed by Thronburg work as journalist for less than ten years, and have just a graduate level.

Othe critics come from the own experience of some journalists. Patrick Beeson talks about him in his blog.

Taking it all into account, the Spanish web , created by former editor-in-chief of Prisacom, Mario Tascón, has published its own catalogue of online journalist’s skills:

·     Basic knowledge of Flash

·     Edition and recording of audio and vídeo

·     Blogging tools

·     Conten Management System (CMS)

·     Web Desing

·     SEO (searcher positioning)

·     CSS

·     XML an HTML

·     Usability and accessibility

·     Photoshop

·     Locuted slide shows


Why CyberJournalism?

October 14, 2008

Why do we prefer “cyberjournalism” instead of “online journalism” or even “webjournalism”? Let me please give you an answer.

The research group I am in has discussed a lot on this. How to appropriately name this. “Online journalism” is a very widespread term, of course, but not very worthy to be translated into Spanish. It underlines, on the other hand, just one characteristic of this new journalistic form.

“Webjournalism”, as proposed by our Brazilian colleagues, is a good alternative, we guess. Journalism made for the Web is, in fact, the thing we try to analyze. Better, in fact, than “Internet journalism”; it is more concrete.

Nevertheless, we do not know what the Internet will be in the future, even if it will receive the same name. So we prefer to take about journalism made for cyberspace -in present days the Internet, some time ahead probably somo other thing. So, that’s Cyberjournalism.

We do follow the Spanish Language Academy, which recommends the use of “cyber-” prefix (in the Spanish form it is “ciber-“; thanks Ramón ;-).

(If you want to know a little bit more on my scholarly production, please try this; if you want to know something about my main research subjet, this is just an introduction).