Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New journalism and new citizenship

Yesterday Marc Chavannes held his inaugural lecture at the University of Groningen. He accepted the position of professor Journalism, especially the news gathering, - selection and -presentation. His inaugural lecture was about new journalism and new citizenship.

Marc Chavannes studied law in Leiden and journalism at Columbia University in New York. He joined NRC Handelsblad and held positions as political editor and assistant editor-in-chief. He was correspondent for the newspaper in London, Paris and Washington. He wrote books about France and the USA and was awarded Journalism awards, amongst others for the American elections for president in 2004. Chavannes writes a weekly political column for NRC Handelsblad.

I met Marc when he was a correspondent for the NRC Handelsblad in London. I was stationed in London for VNU. I launched in 1984 for VNU a daily electronic newsletter for the computer industry, IDB Online, the Industry Daily Bulletin Online. It was the first daily newsletter in Europe. Shortly after the European launch, we were able to link the daily newsletter through the gateway of NewsNet. Marc and I had a lunch and talked about the newsletter; later on he wrote an article using the metaphor of the Worldmagazine.

I am pretty sure that Marc at that time was not online and sent his articles to the newspaper by fax. It is interesting to see, that he is now involved in the new reality of iMedia as a professor. In his inaugural lecture he indicated that traditional media are loosing their grip on the audience. Radio and television are loosing audiences gradually. Newspapers feel the competition of internet in news and advertisements. Journalists will have to get used to exercise their trade on a virtual market square. The media will have to speed up in order to keep up their appearance.

The new form of journalism is the weblog. They serve the need speed, associative directness, sometimes even passion, which gets smothered in the routine of the form of printed newspapers. But Marc poses in his inaugural lecture the question whether democracy gets the better part of this? Since the beginning of the nineties the worldwide web would free the citizen. Everyone can know everything; everyone can continuously vote about public policies. Yet reality is more unmanageable.

However from research it is clear that European citizens, who get politically active, use internet more. Especially when they get involved with elections and actions in the field of social policies, embrace e-democracy. iMedia become indispensable in this process. Journalism and citizenship will get closer to each other in the internet era.

I wish Marc success in teaching journalism at the University of Groningen.

Blog Posting Number: 657

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