Disciplining the Virtual Home Front: Mainstream News and the Web During the War in Iraq

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Abstract:

Considered by many to be the first war of the Information Age, the 2003 War in Iraq provided a unique opportunity for observing how the American mainstream press defined the Web's journalistic value and how it reacted to the competition from alternative online news sources. In an attempt to exert control over the Web as a journalistic space, the mainstream press used rhetorics of "professionalism" to discipline online news seekers into conforming to the definition of "news" favored by the mainstream press. This essay analyzes these tactics and their implications for the Web's journalistic potential, and concludes with a call for a more collaborative online journalism that maintains journalistic credibility while also incorporating a wider variety of perspectives.

Keywords: Alternative News; Blogging; Critical Rhetoric; Online Journalism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14791420701459707

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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