As the internet changes the face of communication journalists are beginning to have a new way of packaging and disseminating news to the public. Though few journalists in Nigeria have access to the internet and most of them do that in their respective places of work (without personal internet access) because internet connection is limited to senior people especially managing editors and senior staff notwithstanding, they are not left out of the global village. So, journalists access internet from cyber cafes, libraries and media resource centers and most of them still use the internet to send e-mail. Beyond sending email to headquarters and receiving instructions from the same internet has created new opportunities for journalists to sell stories not only to other media houses locally but across the globe. The internet has made the world smaller for journalists to explore. This wonderful technology has also made research on various subject matters available via chatting and exchange of messages. This has created new markets and form of journalism where journalists specialize and work as online journalists, content managers or editors for particular websites.
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The internet is pushing journalists to learn new skills on how to add content to a web site, blog and create hyper text links the coming of the internet is also leading journalists to basically know photographic skills such as how to take digital pictures and upload them to a computer or add them to a blog and website. Internet has made it easy for journalists to research on any subject as it is one of the biggest resources – it makes it easy to find out what acronyms stand and also research a certain subject matter. No doubt, the internet is also changing the way we write for newspapers as we now have to learn how to strictly write for online newspapers. However, most of the online newspapers still carry the same material which was produced by the print version without creating hypertext links to help the visitor stay with the page.
The Internet is most appropriately thought of as a network of networks. Its growth in Africa, in recent time, has been incredibly fast and it is rapidly changing the media industry and the practices of mass communication.
Internet is a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.
The internet is a globally connected network system facilitating worldwide communication and access to data resources through a vast collection of private, public, business, academic and government networks.
Journalism is the collection, preparation, and distribution of news and related commentary and feature materials through such print and electronic media as newspapers, magazines, books, blogs, webcasts, podcasts, social networking and social media sites, and e-mail as well as through radio, motion pictures, and television. The word journalism was originally applied to the reportage of current events in printed form, specifically newspapers, but with the advent of radio, television, and the Internet in the 20th century the use of the term broadened to include all printed and electronic communication dealing with current affairs.
Journalism is also the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is the production and distribution of reports on current events based on facts and supported with proof or evidence. The word journalism applies to the occupation, as well as collaborative media who gather and publish information based on facts and supported with proof or evidence. Journalistic media include print, television, radio, Internet, and in the past, newsreels.
Mass communication is the term used to describe the academic study of various means by which individuals and entities relay information to large segments of the population all at once through mass media.
Mass Communication is defined as ‘any mechanical device that multiples messages and takes it to a large number of people simultaneously’. Face to face conversation is called interpersonal communication, a college lecture or a public speech will be examples of group communication, when we are involved in thinking process it is intra-personal communication. In addition to all these types of communication we also indulge in yet another level of communication when we read newspapers, magazines or books, listen to radio or watch TV. As the message is communicated to a very large number of people or to a mass of people, it is called Mass communication.
THE INTERNET AND JOURNALISM PROFESSION
The internet is the fastest growing medium in history. The digitalizations, convergence of computer and telephony technologies - which are the linchpin of the internet, have greatly influenced the way news and information are produced and disseminated. Times and things have indeed changed, globalization has since become a buzz word, and has brought with it change and competition. People’s lives have been variously affected either for the better or for worse, depending on the side of the divide one finds himself.
The rapid adoption of internet by journalist is a nationwide phenomenon. The process by which computerization or digitalization impacted upon the media of the 21th Century has moved on many fronts and at different speeds. More so, with desktop publishing and word processing packages, particularly the page maker, the production of newspapers, magazines, journals etc has become on interesting business more so with the use of video display terminals.
Looking at the way internet and journalism influence each other it is obvious that the new form of journalism is ubiquitous in structure. Though not everybody in a society has access to the internet to assess the news (because of digital divide), the presence of mobile phones has made it possible for journalist to gather news anywhere especially those who use their phones as mobile internet and send stories which in turn readers have access. The groups in turn have influence on their environment having been opinion leaders to their peers or even those in their vicinity.
The use of computer in lay out and printing enhances accuracy, helping to control newspaper and magazine costs. Electronic editing; proofreading, formatting, spellchecking tools, calculator and other software tools now facilitate the speed and ease news gathering and dissemination. Also, the use of electronic publishing which involves the process through which print media disseminate printed messages using electronic media has closed the wide gap between print and electronic media as a result of convergence in technology. Another landmark in the era of internet journalism has been the ability of the media to harness the potentials of World Wide Web (www) among other services provided by the net. The www which is a system for accessing, manipulating, and downloading a very large set of hypertext- linked documents and other files located on computers connected through the internet has afforded both the source and receiver to send and receive messages as well as advertise goods and services.
When people are online they are looking for much more information and that makes journalists provide more information on the subject matter. An online version can provide more information and in some cases provide video clips and a series of pictures unlike the print version which has limited pages. The internet is much more interesting as it provides journalists with multimedia platform where journalism can provides data, video and voice. Online newspaper is meant to capture wider audience internationally. As technology advances more change will continue to occur.