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Journalism that Matters

Views from Central and Eastern Europe


Edited By Michał Głowacki, Epp Lauk and Auksė Balčytienė

This collective effort of Central and Eastern European (CEE) scholars investigates and compares journalism cultures in a selection of CEE countries. Simultaneously with dramatic societal and political changes, CEE journalisms undergo a technological revolution and the global repercussions of the economic crisis. According to the authors of this volume, the national cultural factors and traditions play an important role in professionalization and democratization of journalism cultures. The book critically examines some of the identified developments, such as shifting roles and functions of the media and journalists or interpretations of occupational self-regulation as genuine phenomena of CEE journalisms rather than deviations from the Western professional ideology of journalism.
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CHAPTER 4: How internet changes journalism: Some trends in the ‘West’ and ‘East’: Péter Bajomi-Lázár


Péter Bajomi-Lázár

Budapest Business School, Hungary

ABSTRACT: Since the invention of printing, the new media of the day has always transformed journalism practices and, by extension, the nature of the public sphere. This paper attempts to normatively assess how the rise of the internet has affected news production and consumption patterns and the quality of critical and rational debate. Based on interviews conducted in ten former communist countries by the research team of the “Media and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe” project, it also attempts to assess how the emergence of today’s new media has affected the public sphere in the new democracies of the European Union.

KEYWORDS: democracy; internet; journalism; print press; public sphere

Every time a new medium emerges, the public sphere is transformed. At least three transformation scenarios are known from the history of mass communication. Firstly, the new medium may dismiss an old one: for example, after the invention of printing around 1450, hand-copied books gradually disappeared. Secondly, the new medium may just overshadow an old one: for instance, after the opening of the first public cinemas in 1907, several of the traditional theatres were closed down. Finally, the emergence of a new medium may transform the functions and uses of an old one: for example, after the rise of radio in 1919 and especially that of television in 1946, newspapers gradually gave up the news contest and sought no longer to provide readers...

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