Perspectives on Online Journalism

Edward (Ted) M. Kian, University of Central Florida, from the University of Central Florida speaks during the 10th International Symposium on Online Journalism on Apr. 18, 2009. (Knight Center/Flickr)

Ted Kian presented his research at the 10th International Symposium on Online Journalism on how internet news coverage might create different frames for gender-related sports news. He said traditional sports news coverage frames women athletes as sex objects, trivializes their seriousness, and gives men’s sports more coverage than women’s sports. The internet presents an opportunity to frame sports news differently, Kian believed, and his research found that it sometimes, but only sometimes, does.Dong Han, the next presenter, researched online news in China and found that, essentially, the internet does not defy censorship and “internet does not automatically liberalize or democratize.”

Final presenter Edith Manosevitch was surprised to find a lack of personal narratives and expressions of values in the reader comments when she studied these comments on online opinion journalism. She quantified the types of responses found in one week of issue-related stories’ reader comments and presented her results as the last presenter of the panel.

Beyond being informative, the panel might have taken a lesson from their studies. Without the stimulus of Twitter updates and the rest of the online world, I was left to focus on each presenter’s lecture and Power Point presentation. Every slide looked like a book and each presenter nearly read straight from the screen.

I’ll give these professors the benefit of the doubt, because I know they’re busy people, and the crammed screens probably reflect the unbridled enthusiasm they share for the conference.