The available literature on new media issues has grown substantially in the past year. These articles helped to frame the discussions in this paper, and they have provided examples that will be cited frequently. In addition, I've conducted several interviews with working journalists and media critics to discern the precise nature of their role and learn how changing technology has affected their work. I sought participants with varied levels of experience in different media, and I sent each person a list of questions through an exchange of e-mail. After compiling their answers, I developed a short list of follow-up questions and again sought answers via e-mail. The questionnaires sent to each participant are listed in Appendix A.
The participants in the interviews have been promised anonymity and will be identified in this paper only by descriptions of their jobs and professional experience. Each participant was asked to give a brief professional history. Full answers, with identifying characteristics deleted and replaced by generic terms in parentheses, are listed in Appendix B.1 Following are short descriptions of the participants with the names by which they will be identified in the text of the paper:
Quotes from interview participants will be accompanied by a footnote giving a brief reminder of the participant's background.
- (TV/Web A): A director of new media at a Web site affiliated with a local TV station. He also has experience as a reporter and editor at two mid-sized newspapers and worked in career services at a major journalism school.
- (Web A): A content programmer at a major Internet company. She graduated from college in the mid-1990s and had internships at newspapers and a magazine. She spent several years at a major newspaper-affiliated Web site.
- (Web B): A former newspaper and magazine reporter now working on a new product for major Internet company. She graduated from college in the early 1990s.
- (Web C): A media reporter for a Web-only publication. He has worked on Web sites since 1995; before that, he worked for 15 years as a writer and editor with various magazines.
- (Newspaper/Web A): A money editor at a major newspaper-affiliated Web site. She spent 10 years reporting and editing at the newspaper before moving to her current job in 1999. Previously, she spent 12 years at financial trade magazines and newspapers of various sizes, including three years as an editorial writer at a major newspaper.
- (Newspaper A): A personal finance editor at a major newspaper whose 30-year career of writing and editing for newspapers was interrupted only by a two-year Army stint during the Vietnam War.
- (Newspaper B): A reporter at a major newspaper who has been in his current job for roughly 18 months. He graduated from college in 1990 and has spent his entire career as a newspaper reporter, mostly at a mid-sized newspaper.
- (TV A): A news director for a TV station in a mid-sized market. He began his career as a photographer, has worked in several large markets, and now supervises a 41-person news department.
- (TV B): An investigative reporter for a TV station in a mid-sized market. He has 20 years of experience.
The evidence used in this paper does not constitute a scientific survey of journalists' attitudes. Though some studies cited in the paper are statistically valid, the bulk of the evidence gathered here is intended as a sampling of issues related to the changing role of journalists.