“Pablo J. Boczkowski”:http://sloancf.mit.edu/vpf/facstaff.cfm?ID=17351&ProfType=F&sortorder=name has produced a book that sounds interesting – “Digitizing the News: Innovation in Online Newspapers”:http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?sid=C429EE84-02E6-4F1A-A20D-B9B5BC908D9E&ttype=2&tid=10145 a summary of which is provided as part of an article in the Online Journalism Review. He suggests that (in the three news organizations he studied) the online version of the news was more open to the readers’ voices but also that online news was more influenced by advertisers and more focused on ‘micro-communities’ of interest. That said, his choice of organizations to study was at the cutting edge of online news practice at the time and indeed two out of the three projects he highlights – HoustonChronicle.com’s “Virtual Voyager”:http://www.chron.com/content/interactive/voyager/ and New Jersey Online’s “Community Connection”:http://www.nj.com/cc/groups/index.ssf seem to have been closed down.
I take a more pessimistic view – there does not appear to be much of a business model yet for rich interactive journalism and until one arrives nearly all online news (with some honourable exceptions) is likely to remain largely re-publishing of existing old-media product.
I look forward to the book however as it is time we had an academic’s-eye view of how the cultures of existing news organizations may be changed through greater online involvement (to the extent it exists).