Networked Book Cover

Looks like an interesting read, reviewed by Tim Luckhurst, who wrote an article in a similar vein the other week:

In the vortex of angst generated by scandal at News International and the complicity of Britain’s political class, it is cheering to read a book that makes one feel a little more optimistic about the purposes and future of journalism. Networked hits the mark.

Adrienne Russell sets out to analyse a time of transformation in the history of journalism, from the era of professional mass media to a future of horizontal collaboration between networked citizens. Her research confirms grave shortcomings in 20th-century editorial culture, but offers reasons to hope that technology and the participation it permits can illuminate a brighter future.

Russell knows her territory and she surveys it confidently. Her comparison of coverage by US news outlets of the 1991 Gulf War with their treatment of the 2003 invasion of Iraq should become compulsory reading for students of conflict reporting. It reveals precisely why George W. Bush could not repeat his father’s trick of massaging the message, 12 years after Bush senior expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

By 2003, unidirectional top-down communication by professional journalists to a rapt audience of passive patriots was not possible. At websites such as Salon.com, through video diaries and on personal blogs, Iraqis and dissenting Americans held official orthodoxy to account. Public interest watchdogs challenged unbalanced reporting of the war. Those great beasts of US “old media”, The Washington Post and The New York Times, were shamed by critical email campaigns.

Read full story and buy the book.

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