Consider the phrase
and all of its connotations. Think about what it actually means, its relationship to journalism, the future of journalism, the internet, the world wide web, Web2,
But, most of all, think about what it actually means.
Give it a bit of thought and I would imagine you will come to a similar conclusion to me. Which is, quite simply, that it is a buzz word (or is it a buzz phrase?) for what journalism has always been – a network.
It is the past repackaged.
Seems to me journalism has always relied on networks of people, whether it be in their local area or crossing the entire span of the world, in order to get the story. Without these networks, these contacts, journalists would have been constantly floundering in a sea of information, unable to reach certain areas and unable to sift through the information they were able to grasp.
So, in all honesty, I cannot understand why this needs a new word (or phrase). And it is completely beyond me why on earth people are getting so excited about said word/phrase. Surely, they’re just words. And not even very inventive words at that.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I like the concept. Obviously. It would possibly be idiotic not to. I like the idea that the internet is going to make it so much easier for us to communicate with the general public, hopefully giving us the ability to produce stories which are wider reaching, more relevant and more balanced. My only real reservation is a slight suspicion that Mr OwneroftheCorporationthatOwnstheNewspaper sees network journalism as a time saving exercise, meaning you can be a well oiled cog in his streamline, money-making machine. I suppose in the same way I sometimes really want to use a pen and paper to record my thoughts rather than a keyboard and Microsoft Word, I would sometimes (or possibly a lot of the time) like to meet my source face to face. I would prefer it to be a way in which I can expand my network of contacts, rather than the sole way I use to contact my contacts.
And please don’t think that I do not understand the power of words either. I’m well aware of their power, thank you very much. I wouldn’t be a very good potentail journalist if I didn’t. It’s just I have a slight problem with buzz words. Hence the highlighting above. Networked journalism is simply another in a long line of buzz words and, frankly, using buzz words around me is the quickest way of getting shoe thrown at your head.