Alfred Hermida (University of British Columbia – School of Journalism) has posted an article on SSRN entitled: “Twittering the News: The Emergence of Ambient Journalism”, Journalism Practice, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 297-308, July 2010. Here’s the abstract:
This paper examines new para-journalism forms such as micro-blogging as “awareness systems” that provide journalists with more complex ways of understanding and reporting on the subtleties of public communication. Traditional journalism defines fact as information and quotes from official sources, which have been identified as forming the vast majority of news and information content. This model of news is in flux, however, as new social media technologies such as Twitter facilitate the instant, online dissemination of short fragments of information from a variety of official and unofficial sources. This paper draws from computer science literature to suggest that these broad, asynchronous, lightweight and always-on systems are enabling citizens to maintain a mental model of news and events around them, giving rise to awareness systems that the paper describes as ambient journalism. The emergence of ambient journalism brought about by the use of these new digital delivery systems and evolving communications protocols raises significant research questions for journalism scholars and professionals. This research offers an initial exploration of the impact of awareness systems on journalism norms and practices. It suggests that one of the future directions for journalism may be to develop approaches and systems that help the public negotiate and regulate the flow of awareness information, facilitating the collection and transmission of news.