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Trends in New Media Research: A Critical Review of Recent Scholarship

Pavlik, J. V. 2013. Trends in New Media Research: A Critical Review of Recent Scholarship. Sociology Compass 7, 1–12 (available on-line: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/soc4.12004, accessed 1 February 2013).
Abstract
Trends in new media research are examined. These trends revolve around four dimensions, including citizen engagement, organizational innovation and adaptation, mobility and content computerization. The following article critically examines this shifting terrain in new media research and its implications for future scholarship.

Overall
• Claims to be an overview of some recent research in "new media", but it focuses almost entirely on journalism. As such it has some useful data with regards to readership, advertising spend, decline of newspapers and so on.
• Argues that there may be "a paradigm shift, in the domain of new media" - but this is not carefully argued. This paper mostly presents material from other papers without theoretical or careful critical discussion
• Citizen engagement:
- highlights the Arab Spring and the mobilising potential of new media
- Osama bin Laden and the way in which news breaks very fast on line; "in the networked, mobile, digital 21st century, scoops are almost non-existent, at least for long or for more than a few ?eeting seconds"
- "citizen journalists" (p2) are important, and journalism is changing to adapt to this, e.g. by becoming "curators" (p3)
• Organizational innovation and adaptation
- "alternative ownership structures for established and start-up news organisations." being proposed
- Some evidence that this may be viable e.g. South Korea's OhmyNews
• Content computerization
- This is a better section of the paper, highlighting the role of computers and databases in changing journalism, and tracing this trend back to "computer-assisted journalism" as developed from 1952
- "Locative media is a term that refers to media forms that utilize geographically tagged or encoded content"(p4) - being used more, e.g. by Chicagocrime.org - "not so much storytelling as fact reporting" (p5)
- Diakopoulos - highlighting data-mining as the future of journalism; Berners-Lee (2010) - "Data-driven journalism is the future"
• Mobile augmented reality and journalism
- Also an interesting section, though somewhat narrowly focused on journalism and ignoring other aspects of augemented reality
- Noting how "'Most of the innovation is happening outside news organisations' (Bocskowski 2004; Bradshaw 2010)" (p7)
- NYT's paywall introduced in 2011 has become a standard
- p8: various statistics on state of news industry in USA
- Growth of "Hyperlocal web sites [which] serve principally local residents, and tend to be produced by local reporters or residents" (p9)
• Overall, useful for some up to date data on the USA news industry and new media. Poorly edited with typos and grammatical mistakes.

Please note - these are rough notes only, based on a first reading. They may be useful to someone interested in an alternative perspective on this paper.
However, these notes do not necessarily represent a final opinion, and are subject to revision in the future.

Are journalists an example for bloggers?

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein claimed that some bloggers, unlike local journalists, do not adhere to the rules and ethics of journalism in their bid to garner popularity.

Local journalists adhered to ethics but these bloggers did not, and this was what differentiated the journalists from these bloggers (The StarOnline, 15/12/2009)

I wonder what he would have to say about the two articles in The Star Online that I blogged about last week? "Women with bigger breasts found to be smarter" and "Boob-staring good for men" - both of which, through a simple Google search, can be proved to be fictional tabloid 'news' of the poorest quality.

Actually I had only noticed the latter article when I first blogged about it, but then another blogger (Chang Yang - My Little Moments) commented that he had seen a very similar one - and written to the Editor about it. Which reminded me that that was the responsible thing to do - maybe there's a rogue journalist, an inexperienced intern, or someone like that, who made an honest mistake. So I wrote to the Editor too.

Chang Yang sent an email on, or before, the 15 November; and I sent one on the 7 December. Well, frankly, I'm gobsmacked that the articles are **still** online! :-O :-O :-O

I can't believe that there isn't someone in The Star who has the responsibility for reading 'Letters to the Editor', and who wouldn't do a simple double check of the articles! A serious newspaper's credibility, and revenue, depends on the accuracy of their reporting.

But then, given the hostility that the mainstream media often shows towards bloggers, I wondered whether it might have been because I mentioned blogging about it in my letter (though Chang Yang didn't)...

So, I thought I'd give it another try - here is the email i sent today, to editor@thestar.com.my

Dear Editor,

Two pieces carried by your online edition over the last two months are factually incorrect, and reflect the poorest journalistic standards. The articles are:

1. "Women with bigger breasts found to be smarter" (Compiled by WINNIE YEOH, NURBAITI HAMDAN AND A.RAMAN, 12/11/2009) - http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/11/12/nation/5092076&sec=nation
This is an invention that was originally reported in the "World Weekly News" in 2003. A simple Google search will confirm this.

2. "Boob-staring good for men" (Compiled by WINNIE YEOH, A. RAMAN and TEH ENG HOCK), 5/12/2009) - http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/12/5/nation/5241171&sec=nation
This fictional 'research' has been circulating since 1997. See this link for more information: http://www.snopes.com/humor/iftrue/breasts.asp

These articles have now been referenced by other newspapers and wire services, with The Star being quoted as the source. I think that you should investigate them and rectify the situation, in order to make sure that The Star's reputation does not suffer.

Yours sincerely,

Julian Hopkins

Address:
xxxxx
Kelana Jaya
Petaling Jaya
47301 Selangor

Telephone:
xxxxxxx


Anyway, this will be the last I post on the sorry affair (noting, en passant, that The Sun's circulation has now surpassed that of The Star).
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