Monday, September 10, 2012

Web permits more complete storytelling than print media

Let me begin this blog entry with a disclaimer:
"Beware of this article. Heavy theoretical ideas here. Not for the mind that cannot grapple with abstract ideas."
That said, I now turn my attention to discussing some ideas based on a journal article by Robinson (2009). Robinson (2009) presents a case study of a journalistic investigation into a scandal involving a Republican public official and his past and present abuse of authority, link to cyber-homosexuality and past child sex scandals.The main gist of the article is that the Web permits a new paradigm in journalism than the limited traditional paradigm of the newspaper medium. According to Robinson (2009), the Web permits a more complete and interactive telling of a story than what newspaper medium permits. More storylines are available through the Web than in traditional print journalism where, the editors have to make decisions about what to omit and what to include in the story, as well as to order the facts in coherent manner.

As I read this, Robinson further solidified my view about how online storytelling and online media like blogs have transformed the way that we need to think about information. With print, the storyteller is constrained by the medium, and has to organise and edit the story told, in away that makes the reader more distant from the source. However, with blogs and the opportunity to embed audio and video, more of the story can be told and unfold, including the raw footage of what the storyteller saw or heard. This new ability, for the storyteller to take the user to where the events happened and unfold as they tell the story, makes it possible for the reader or audience of the story to not just access the reported events, but also to experience the events as the reporter captured it.

For me, the new media emerging from Web 2.0 technologies are now enabling us to see how the printed textual information sources have limited the power of communicating non-fiction information, while being authoritarian and lacking interactivity. With social media, we can get access to the events minus the interpretation and spin of the storyteller, as well as through comments from others access alternative perspectives about the events (even in real time as is the case with Twitter). Hence, the non-fiction storyteller in the world of social media has less control over the interpretation of the story, especially when they seek to include evidence about the event that took place so as to give the reader an experience of what actually took place. I should also note that blogs therefore present those who wish to communicate non-fiction information a platform for presenting the raw materials for storytelling, so as to help readers reconstruct the story for themselves.


Robinson, S. (2009). The cyber-newsroom: A case study of the journalistic paradigm in a news narrative's journey from a newspaper to cyberspace. Mass Communication and Society, 12(4), 403-422. doi: 10.1080/15205430802513234

No comments:

Post a Comment