Cover_Digitizing_News

Winner of the 2005 Outstanding Book Award, International Communication Association.
Winner of the 2005 Outstanding Book Award, Critical and Cultural Studies Division, National Communication Association.
Winner of the 2004 Outstanding Book Award, Organizational Communication Division, National Communication Association.

In this study of how daily newspapers in America have developed electronic publishing ventures, Pablo Boczkowski shows that new media emerge not just in a burst of revolutionary technological change but by merging the structures and practices of existing media with newly available technical capabilities. His multi-disciplinary perspectives of science and technology, communication, and organization studies allow him to address the connections between technical, editorial, and work facets of new media. This approach yields analytical insights into the material culture of online newsrooms, the production processes of new media products, and the relationships between offline and online dynamics.

Boczkowski traces daily newspapers’ early consumer-oriented non-print publishing initiatives, from the now-forgotten videotex efforts of the 1980s to the rise of the World Wide Web in the mid- 1990s. He then examines the formative years of news on the Web during the second half of the 1990s, when the content of online newspapers varied from simple reproduction of the print edition to new material with interactive and multimedia features. With this picture of the recent history of non-print publishing as background, Boczkowski provides ethnographic, fly-on-the-wall accounts of three innovations in content creation: the Technology section of the New York Times on the Web, which was initially intended as the newspaper’s space for experimentation with online news; the Virtual Voyager project of the HoustonChronicle.com, in which reporters pushed the envelope of multimedia journalism; and the Community Connection initiative of New Jersey Online, in which users became content producers. His analyses of these ventures reveal how innovation in online newspapers became an ongoing process in which different combinations of initial conditions and local contingencies led publishers along divergent paths of content creation.

Selected book reviews:

Boczkowski’s [book is an] empirically rich, theoretically sophisticated and highly readable study. Nearly four decades have passed since Herbert Gans, Gaye Tuchman, Edward Epstein and others wrote their classic newsroom ethnographies. It is high time, to say the least, for both an empirical updating and a theoretical rejuvenating of this tradition. Recipient of the International Communication Association’s 2004 Outstanding Book Award, Digitizing the News is surely a worthy successor to these earlier studies, as well as an exemplar for the next generation of newsroom research.
–Rodney Benson, New Media & Society

Digitizing the News contributes to our understanding of how newspapers are being influenced by new media concepts and new audience expectations. It adds to our understanding of how traditional newspapers are influencing their new digital counterparts. It captures journalists as they grapple with technological development, and it analyzes the influence of digitization on the social construction of news.
–Susan B. Barnes, Technology and Culture

Drawing thoughtfully on recent scholarship in technology, communication, and organization, Boczkowski reminds us that it is important to study not merely the products of new media but also the social and material processes of production, including initial conditions and local contingencies. His work offers useful insights on the adoption and impact of new communication technologies, and his systematic organization of the material makes the book useful for classrooms as well as scholars.
–Alex Nalbach, The Business History Review

This book—the most significant recent research on technology and newsrooms—brims with excellent observations about online journalism. In the main, Boczkowski argues that daily newspapers have embraced web-based technologies grudgingly.  [...] All in all, the book represents a nice corrective to the simplistic view that technology alone is causing great change in the news. As such, it provides a good baseline for future research in this area.
–David Michael Ryfe, Political Communication

“The first three chapters of theory would be enough to fuel discussions in a graduate course, but Boczkowski supplements them vividly with three case studies [...] Any of the three could stand alone as a reference for online researchers, but taken together they provide a powerful lesson to those who would wander the byways of the Web.”
–Clyde H. Bentley, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

Boczkowski’s work provides an important perspective on the impact of online newspapers on their traditional print counterparts, and offers an in-depth organizational analysis of how the two intersect and how they impact on each other. His work represents a significant step for media researchers and professionals to consider not just the content component of online newspapers and the implications of content for democracy but indeed the processes of the online newsroom and what such infrastructure might be able to tell us about the future development of the sector.”
–Susan Forde, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies

Download chapter 1.

Available at Amazon.