The Online Newspaper: A Postmodern MediumSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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Not so long ago the inky newsprinted paper with its 10-point Times-Roman font on the kitchen table was an integral part of Americans' morning routine. The newspaper industry, romanticized for hundreds of years, represented modernism — the stark, straightforward rendering of information and news, neatly labeled. Readers learned to trust certain bylines and to understand signs of importance, such as the screaming banner headline. Most people believe the newspaper will never be replaced by a computer screen. After all, you can't take it with you on the Metro or spill your coffee on it.
Nevertheless, online newspapers are carving a niche of their own, especially among the news hounds, the computer savvy, and the young, who see the Internet as a viable medium for information and news. Online is a medium perfectly suited for people who have gone beyond MTV, beyond Entertainment Tonight, and even beyond Wired magazine. With its tendency to blur and blend media, the online newspaper is not as straightforward as its ink counterpart, even if it contains all of the news and information that is in the newspaper. The online newspaper is postmodern.
It is important to make a distinction between the modernist newspaper and the postmodernist newspaper, even though their owners do not want the public to differentiate: Brand-name recognition is important when it comes to luring advertisers. Think about the branding of washingtonpost.com by The Washington Post,, or of Mercury Center [formerly http://www0.mercurycenter.com] by the San Jose Mercury News. However, the distinction is there: The new medium means changes in the ways traditional newspaper readers understand and relate to the news.
Signs of the change are subtle but persistent. A reader recalled an article on the extinction of the spotted owl. Her colleague asked where she saw the story. "I saw it somewhere on washingtonpost.com," she said. Once she surely would have replied, "It was in yesterday's Style section," or "It was in the Sunday magazine" — emphasizing names and boundaries that are tied to the physical object, a meaningless distinction online.
Because online newspapers do not allow readers to thumb through and physically relate to the organization of the online publication, readers must organize and prioritize their news mentally. Those unfamiliar with the practice and design of the online newspaper might not realize that the spotted owl story was on the front page of the online newspaper but not the front page of the print paper. Inversely, many stories deemed important enough to run on the front page of the print edition are not deemed timely or important enough to run on the front of the paper's Web site.
As a former producer for washingtonpost.com, I can attest that human interest stories were often plucked from the Style section to be placed on the front page of the online version. And throughout the day a story might be moved from the top of the page to the bottom of the page (or sometimes vice versa, depending on whether an artist found a better photo to place with it). That practice is common in online journalism, with little thought given to the idea that a reader could be confused by such changes in presentation.
A Change in More Than Degree
When they first created an online presence in the early to middle 1990s, editors were not worried about the day-to-day message of a newspaper — the content. They had content down pat; the difference online was the time scale, not the content itself. But they did not realize that the time scale imposed its own message, that going from a daily to an hourly publication made it different, not just faster.
Because the online newspaper is never "put to bed," is never completely finished so long as there is news to report (or readers to receive that news for the first time as they log on at various hours of the day and night), the individual stories are not the message of the online paper. Instead, the message is in the overall "look and feel." The news has to be presented in an accessible way, an attractive way. Readers have to be sold on the content by the general look and feel of the site rather than the news itself.
Online, reporters disappear, victims of postmodernism. On a front page of a newspaper the stories are neatly bylined, including a description of the writer's relationship to the newspaper: "Staff reporter," "Special to the . . .," or "AP wire report." According to Michael Schudson in Discovering the News, it was only in the 1930s that most newspapers began the practice of bylined writing throughout the paper. While the byline was an attempt to make the newspaper more credible and the writer more accountable, it actually changed the way many people read papers even today. Knowledgeable readers (especially those who remember Watergate) may be more apt to read and find credible a story bylined "Bob Woodward" than one by "Janet Cooke," or by a freelance writer who is identified as "Special to The Washington Post."
Online newspapers splash their headlines and sometimes their lead paragraphs on their front "page." Bylines are relegated to the full story. Readers who click to the home page of washingtonpost.com might scan the stories that are presented up front (presumably the most important), and not know whether they will be getting an AP story (which is likely, since the site uses the AP wire to update breaking news throughout the day), an in-depth political analysis by senior Post reporter David Broder, or a lighter, written-for-the-Web piece by a post.com producer with very little journalism experience. Some readers (and even journalists) might argue that is an improvement in an age where top reporters are household names and "McLaughlin Group" celebrities — it brings equality to news and features and allows fresh voices to emerge. Others might argue that it muddies the news because it does not provide readers with a clear distinction between hard news, features, and canned articles.
By not making a distinction between different kinds of news articles, an online newspaper turns its articles into commodities, to be sold by the brilliance of the headline and its placement on the front page, rather than by the content. Such commoditization cuts the reader off from the process of news gathering and dissemination by blurring one of the links — the byline. And making news a commodity makes it less personal, more alien.
Online news is a commodity created through Web pages (which are certainly more fleeting, both physically and mentally, than print news). Web pages, then, exist only at the point of consumption.
Interestingly, a century earlier Karl Marx had defined the modern product as one that exists (in an economic sense) only at the point of consumption. He said that assembly lines and factories alienated people from products because the process was hidden; people didn't see the human toil involved, and so devalued the product. They didn't even recognize its utility until they needed it, and then were not willing to pay for its rather mysterious production. Marx claimed that "past, impersonal labor" isn't considered valuable — if it's considered at all. That philosophy eventually completely separated production and income, and underpins the "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" mantra of communism. In online news, the referent (the byline or section) that personalizes and personifies the article is lost, and the resultant value is lessened. Certainly that point is underlined by the fact that online news is generally free. In addition, few understand the process of production of the online paper, and therefore can't see the work that goes into it. Marx might view the online newspaper as an ideal expression of his theory that alienation from the process devalues the product.
In Grundrisse Marx says that the people and the work they do, and the value of the products they produce, "are determined by quite different laws and motives and may come into violent contradiction with each other."
"The online product is characterized by alienation"
The "violent contradiction" in online news is the differing views of value by reader and by news producer. But just as the value of the online-news product is diminished by the reader's inability to see the person behind the news, so is the value of the reader diminished by the online newspaper's inability to see the person behind the screen. To an online editor, the readers of an online newspaper are counted as "page views" or "hits" — numbers instead of people. They are numbers that can boost advertising and general clout in the field. Yet at the same time, those "hits" are humans who use e-mail to write to the online editors to ask that certain features of the online newspaper be changed or altered, which creates another violent contradiction: between how online news readers are perceived, and how they act.
Such tensions were not as pronounced when the newspaper was king, and when Hollywood made all the movies glorifying reporters and editors — incidentally increasing the value of the product and the cachet of the byline. The tension has come about in the electronic medium as the value and prioritization of news and information has been lost. The online product is characterized by alienation resulting from the lack of context and the gulf between reader and producer. How could it be otherwise in this fleeting, intangible medium? In his chapter, "Alienated Labour and Capital," Marx explains how such alienation begins and grows:
These conditions face the worker, as a person, in the person of the capitalist (as personifications with their own will and interest), this absolute separation and divorce of ownership (i.e. of the material conditions of labour from living labour power); these conditions are opposed to the worker as alien property, as the reality of another real person and the absolute domain of their will — and that labour hence appears as alien labour as opposed to the value personified in the capitalist or to the conditions of labour — this absolute divorce between property and labour, between living labour power and the conditions of its realisation, between objectified and living labour, between the value and the activity that creates value — hence vis a vis the worker himself — this separation now also appears as the product of labour itself, as an objectification of its own elements.
The movement toward bylines in the 1930s may have been a reaction to the same depersonalization and alienation that Marx had seen a half century earlier. Bylines had an unanticipated consequence — specialization — as readers began to associate certain names with certain "beats." Readers became familiar with a reporter's byline on certain types of stories, lending a sense of trust and authority to them. That made the reporter more accountable for the copy, and it also discouraged editors from injecting a corporate view that was discernible from a reporter's. Because specialization and bylines indicated more accountability, they also emphasized — and therefore increased — what came to be seen as the newspaper's interpretive duty. Then, as communications technology improved, life became more complex. Villagers knew more about city problems; Americans knew more about the rest of the world. The global village was born, fueled by communications technologies and the newspapers that brought the world to the breakfast table.
Style Over Substance
With that new view, background and interpretation became even more important. And today, when people are so dependent on their phones, faxes, pagers, and the Internet to stay connected to one another and in tune with the world, the need for interpretation has been amplified. It certainly is not satisfied by television news and CNN. That medium requires only short, easy-to-understand sound bites — a perfect counterpart to the other short messages people take in via the fax, pager and Internet throughout the day. In response, newspapers find it increasingly important to interpret the news for their readers.
"As you travel around the country, it's hard to tell where you are by reading the local papers"
The online newspaper, however, has turned its back on interpretation as far as its presentation is concerned. The online newspaper seems to emphasize style over substance, and has found a medium and an audience perversely receptive to that emphasis, producing today's postmodern journalism.
Two other distinct-but-related trends in American newspapers helped create the online newspaper: First, there was the founding of news wire services (generally to balance the cost of newsprint; they made it less necessary to have bureau reporters). Media critic Howard Kurtz, in his book Media Circus, outlines the phenomenon that peaked in the 1980s and early 1990s:
As you travel around the country, it's hard to tell where you are by reading the local papers. They all carry the same wire stories, the same syndicated columns. When there were three or four newspapers serving each city, they had distinct personalities — eccentric or irascible, crusading or corny. Now most of them look like they're put out by the same faceless market research folks. Once you get beyond the dozen or so top markets, there are hundreds of breathtakingly mediocre newspapers out there. The growth of chains has stamped hundreds of one-newspaper towns with a certain ethos — what Jack Germond calls 'corporate journalism' — that is not quite awful, but awfully boring. (Kurtz 362).
The second trend started with the birth in the early 1980s of McPaper, USA Today, which fit a generation of traveling generalists. Its parent, Gannett Co., used its colorful cover and short, multicultural human-interest stories as a model for generic community papers across the country, rather than the modernist model of straight-ahead news. Kurtz says the USA Today model produces "a sleek contraption that was built for speed and little else" as two or three editors rewrite stories to compress reams of copy into bite-size portions. That effort requires a top-heavy bureaucracy, and is frustrating to reporters because key facts are often omitted. "It changes the whole corporate culture of the newsroom because the reporter is no longer the star, it's the editor," says Phillip Meyer, who teaches journalism at the University of North Carolina. "Your words have to be pushed and pummeled and pounded to fit the format." USA Today reporter Dennis Cauchon complains that "your story is never free from assault. If you strip away the color, the graphics, it reads a lot like the AP. What's lost is style, personality, voice and flavor." (Kurtz 362-65)
The online newspaper picks up where McPaper leaves off. Regardless of whether it belongs to The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, or The Washington Post, the online publication's home page features both AP news and an amalgamation of lively and sometimes-interactive info-graphics updated throughout the day.
Symbols of Reality
What is lost with that combination of information, infotainment (the masquerade of entertainment as brief, easy-to-digest news), and interactivity is not easy to pinpoint. The reality is complicated and depends upon whom you ask. In many respects, online newspapers are the media of the future because of their easy delivery of information, infotainment and interactivity. When its editors choose to allow discussions and provide e-mail addresses of reporters and editors, online newspapers give the readers greater power. When new stories are packaged with related stories and graphs — and readers choose to read all of it — online newspapers provide greater context to the news. However, while readers gain context and interactive power, they may lose a sense of historical consciousness. In Selected Writings, Jean Baudrillard postulates the culmination of Marx's philosophy of alienation in postmodernism, as people lose touch with reality and replace it with the symbols of reality.
"The online newspaper is not a product, it is an experience"
In its moment-by-moment changing layout and its disregard for traditional signals of importance, the online newspaper furthers the idea that symbols mask reality. The online newspaper's front page ignores the context of the story, and the seeming weightlessness of the online environment hides the reality of its production, thus negating its value. Online news articles, like their paper counterparts, are the products of huge, costly systems. They are written by reporters, fact-checked by researchers, edited by many levels of editors, stored in expensive and complicated computer systems, harvested by online producers, marked up by HTML experts, laid out by digital-graphic artists, edited by editors who specialize in electronic information, and delivered by fiber optics. But on the reader's screen, there is little difference between the news story and the word-processing document, or the computer game. Readers are expected to accept the product without understanding its value.
More and more, the popularity of an online newspaper is based on its "fun" quotient, its interactivity, the ability it gives readers to "click through" from one link to the next. There is no need to absorb content in an online newspaper, just to revel in the gestalt of easy travel through the words. The online newspaper is not a product, it is an experience. That fits in with Baudrillard's idea that experience is a ritual that provides a common base of understanding of the process, if not the content.
All that is asked is that you acquire value, according to the structural definition which here takes on its full social significance only as a term in relation to others; that you function as a sign within the general scenario of production — just as labor and production now only function as signs, as interchangeable terms with nonlabor, consumption, communication, etc. (Baudrillard 133).
Knowledge Needs No Context
Marx argued that as people distance themselves from the producers, they lose their sense of the product's value. Alienation from labor means alienation from value. Baudrillard, however, says knowledge exists on its own, without reference to any context (and, by extension, without reference to any producer of that knowledge). In Baudrillard's world, neither producer nor context is important. While Marx might say such a situation would further increase a sense of alienation, in our postmodern era people develop their own context for the product by their need to consume it; producer-imposed context, or history, is no longer necessary. It is my experience that readers today, especially young readers in the electronic realm, have a good sense of who they are as individuals. They don't think they need historical context. Moreover, with information bombarding them from all sides, they do not feel the need to have everything explained in detail. They simply need to be able to consume information, to use it immediately.
"What is important is different from what is urgent"
That extension of Baudrillard's idea might be disputed by those still enamored of the romantic notion of the newspaper and by those who are concerned about the problems that emerge when society stops prioritizing and understanding news and information. They say such a trend could lead to a growing shallowness that will stop people from trying to understand the problems facing the world and stop them from taking action to solve those problems. Even those who seem to embrace the personalization of news are often frightened by its outcome. James Fallows, the former editor of US News and World Report, is an advocate of "News You Can Use" — the idea that almost all information must be put into a useful context for its readers. Yet in his book Breaking the News he writes that both newspapers and online newspapers can bridge the growing gulf between writer and reader. In the section "What the Media Should Do for Us," he presents a handbook on how to establish context through perspective.
Half the battle in daily life is telling the differences between things that really matter and those that are distracting for the moment but will soon go away . . . Newspapers have an amazingly nuanced set of signals for conveying both the importance and the urgency of an event. Whether an article is on the front page, how big the headline type is, how often the subject appears in the paper — these and other signs convey perspective to the reader in an instantly understood code. . . .
TV news, which might seem to offer more possibilities for shading importance, actually offers fewer. TV can of course handle fast-breaking news and offer wall-to-wall coverage of emergency events . . . But in day-to-day coverage, events tend to run together on TV more than they do in print, since the main variation among the stories is how many seconds of airtime each gets. In broadcast, you don't have the opportunity to scan the headlines and flip to the next page. Radio news has largely denigrated to the headlines-on-the-hour format prevalent at most AM and FM Stations.
What is important is different from what is urgent. What is important is often not what's new. What is important is often crowded out by what is most novel or attention-getting that day — Lorena Bobbitt, the latest flood or earthquake, a scandal involving a movie star" (Fallows 130-31).
Online newspapers, despite their ability to take a story and put it into context, typically do not follow Fallows's prescriptions. In fact, they are constantly crowding out what's important with what's most novel at the moment. When I worked at washingtonpost.com, one unwritten rule was that disasters such as airplane crashes and hurricanes always were to be placed prominently on the home page. As Fallows said, though, that could be at the expense of a piece on a local housing shortage that includes tallies of City Council votes on the issue, links to other stories about neighborhoods being ruined by crime and gangs, and even links to emergency housing offices and shelters. Online news falls into the same trap as other media: In order to compete with television, it can become so wrapped up in immediacy that it forgets its strength is to put stories into context.
"Online newspapers should be doing a great service to humankind"
This emphasis on immediacy rather than importance, coupled with a tendency not to "label" stories with bylines or source information, affects the way readers interpret the news. Because it was a tangible medium with stories arranged in order of importance, the printed newspaper better promoted a perception of authenticity; that is often lost in the online newspaper. Walter Benjamin, in Illuminations, his collection of essays, writes about how mechanically reproduced art has ruined the sense of "aura" that an original piece once held for its viewers. Much in the same way the ephemeral online newspaper cannot retain the "aura" of truth. By its very nature today's online newspaper cannot bring readers what is real. As Benjamin writes, "The authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced." Unlike the print paper, the online newspaper is updated so often throughout the day that it can hardly be used as a record of history. Unlike the original art Benjamin writes about, the online newspaper has neither experienced nor endured any tangible history, and therefore, seems less authentic. Benjamin was most concerned with art losing its authenticity and authority (and creating more alienation among viewers) when it was reproduced thousands of times. An online newspaper has no authenticity, and, because it is transmitted to an unknown number of people throughout the day in various, changing forms, it has no authority.
Online Is Not Credible
A recent study conducted by Georgetown graduate student Josephine Ferrigno found that while 80 percent of 60 random newspaper readers surveyed found The New York Times to be credible, slightly less than half found The New York Times Online (which contains the same articles as the newspaper) to be credible. The online front page features changing AP stories and, like washingtonpost.com, it does not identify the writers or the sections from which it pulls the New York Times articles to feature on the front page of the Web site. By electronically reproducing the news to cater to a much larger audience than its newspaper subscriber base, online newspapers should be doing a great service to humankind. After all, they are bringing readers more information than anyone has done in history at a time when the value of information as a commodity is greater than ever.
Still, there is a loss of authenticity, reality, and aura that alters readers' perceptions of both current world events and history. Although Kurtz's book was relatively short-sighted in its prediction of the failure of online journalism (the book was published in 1993, about a year before the World Wide Web became a viable mode of communication and commodity), Kurtz raises the argument that reading a computerized newspaper is laborious — "waiting for the phone connection, scanning the story titles, punching one up, scrolling from top to bottom, then moving on to the next title. There's no big headline to suggest that this story is more important than that one, no dramatic photo to catch your eye, no easy way to browse through the day's offerings. You can't clip out articles or take it on the bus."
Although he belabors the difficulty of reading online, he notes that online information still adds to the information glut: "The central paradox of newspapers today is that they deliver more news more efficiently than ever before at a time when readers are drowning in information. Newspapers have many audiences, and it has become increasingly difficult to cater to one segment without driving away the rest." In other words, too much information — even too much purposefully targeted information — may also widen the gap between readers and their understanding of what they want and receive from an online newspaper. So much information — especially to a generation of readers that doesn't care how the information came to be — can be overwhelming to the point that the readers are alienated from it.
In his dismissal of the Internet as anything but a supplement to the newspaper for the current generation, Kurtz does not seem to take into account the Internet's youthful demographic. Considering the low readership of newspapers among 18-to-30-year-olds, it's rather utopian to believe that building on the paper publication with an online supplement will expand the audience. Inevitably, once the Internet becomes a prime mode of information and communication (and with Internet2, HDTV, and faster, cheaper connections on the horizon, it's only a matter of time), it's doubtful that many young people will turn to both paper and their computer to get the "complete" story. If the online newspaper is merely a "supplement publication," then the problem of alienation between readers and news may become a canyon rather than a gap.
"In the past, papers were responsible for bringing down a president and starting a war"
There is more at stake than the alienation of certain demographics, though. The design of online newspapers, like the design of USA Today, is becoming accepted in print papers throughout the country. They are designed to provide a quick (and attractive) glance at the timeliest news. That sleek package forges a sense of unreality — a sense that the news is distant from the reader's life. In his chapter "Simulacra and Simulations," Baudrillard talks about the "unreality" and "omnipotence of manipulation" that has been brought on by capital being responsible for our sense of reality. When society wants to grasp some "last glimmer of reality," he says, it only multiplies the signs (or the faux representations or simulations of reality) and accelerates the play of simulation (Baudrillard 180).
Consider the power of the traditional newspaper. In the past, papers were responsible for bringing down a president and starting a war, and the papers in question were catering mainly to a local audience. Now consider the power of the new medium, its potential to reach millions of people world wide. Online newspapers, simply by leaving bylines off the front page, rearranging the newspaper in such a way that all facets — sports, news, arts — are side-by-side, placing clickable advertisements next to news items, and changing story placement and headline sizes randomly throughout the day, are more concerned with look and feel than getting the best news and information. This is a simulation of reality, and it risks the abuse of power at a very high level.
As long as it was historically threatened by the real, power risked deterrence and simulation, disintegrating every contradiction by means of the production of equivalent signs. When it is threatened today by simulation (the threat of vanishing in the play of signs), power risks the real, risks crisis, it gambles on remanufacturing artificial, social, economic, political stakes. This is a question of life or death for it. But it is too late" (Baudrillard 180).
We Become What We Behold
While Baudrillard's words seem harsh, few would argue that the media — in any of its forms — often have more power over the people than theirgoverning bodies. Today Marshall McLuhan's premise in his 1964 communication-studies manual, Understanding Media, can perhaps now be fully realized. It's not the news, or even what is said or done that is the message, it's the medium. "We become what we behold," McLuhan wrote, and "we shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us."
The electronic forms of media that are taking over culture four centuries after moveable type was invented have rearranged people's perceptions. In Hotel America Lewis Lapham wrote that
. . .electronic forms of communication eliminate the predominance of straight lines as well as the presumption of cause and effect, and by dissolving the dimensions of space and time, they invite ways of thinking that McLuhan describes as nonlineal, repetitive, discontinuous, intuitive, proceeding by analogy instead of sequential argument . . . the pagan character of the electronic dispensation invests authority in persons instead of institutions. Names take precedence over things, the actor over the act, and within the enclosed and mediated spaces governed by the rule of images, the distinctions between fiction and fact melt, thaw and resolve themselves into the malleable substance of docudrama" (Lapham 340).
A "page view" is online jargon for a measure of readership; every time a reader clicks on a link that opens an online page, it constitutes one page view. Washingtonpost.com received more than 1.5 million page views per day on its homepage at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. With a photo of the intern plastered across the top of the page and short, bulleted, hyperlinked statements like "The latest in the accusations against the president," "An archive of stories on the Paula Jones sexual harassment case," and "The First Lady speaks out," it seemed the home page editors were putting the scandal into context for the readers. Obviously, the intention was for readers to click on each of the bulleted items and get the entire story. But how many readers click beyond the home page? Is it not possible that those three bulleted items and a photo are the only context readers are receiving on the Lewinsky story? If so, it would be better had they not received any notification of the scandal, because it is impossible for them to make an informed decision based on those three phrases, and it merely adds to the cultural problem of icons and personalities signifying nothing other than themselves. That is a main premise in postmodernist thought. In readers' ability to create their own context behind a story, they create alienation and separate themselves from the referent — which in this case is truth.
Much of this analysis has focused on the effect of online journalism on culture. However, it is difficult to say what this new cultural mentality signals for the future of online journalism. It would stand to reason that if the ephimeral content in this rather intangible medium continues to influence a society that so easily embraces personal rather than historical narratives, bulleted news blurbs, and channel surfing, then online journalism will flourish — and gain an even wider audience as more get home computers and Internet access. After all, online newspapers very well could be to the newspaper industry what MTV was to the traditional television networks: a concept to both envy and scoff at, and the savior that will reel in a new generation to what is often called a dying medium.
Of course, if the current generation were to develop a new interest in history that is more than nostalgia; if that interest were to center on the straightforward historical narratives of the past; then online newspapers will be forced to change. Alternatively, if online newspapers were to evolve to challenge the alienated, suspicious attitude toward electronic newspapers, then they could flourish in the postmodern era, without being stuck in the modernism of their paper predecessors.
In the postmodern newspaper there are fewer boundaries, either within the publication, or in its relationship with the rest of the world. Online newspapers may have "sections," but going from one to another is seamless: no need to lick forefinger and thumb and turn pages. Seamlessness is more insidious, too, as information is added to an article as it is revealed to the reporter, or the placement or headline (size and content) is changed throughout the day as other stories wane and wax. Such practices are not possible on a one-edition-a-day paper, and they happen so rarely on multi-edition big-city daily papers that no one thinks about the effect of moving a story. In the postmodern medium of an online newspaper, however, it happens a lot. And so the online newspaper in subtle ways forces the reader to become postmodern.
Shayla Thiel is a student in Georgetown University's Communication, Culture and Technology masters of arts program. She serves as marketing coordinator for the program's in-house Web consulting firm, KeyBridge.Net, and is also a musician and freelance writer. For two years she was an online producer at washingtonpost.com where she developed and edited the music and nightlife section. Previously she worked as an electronic-projects assistant at The Chronicle of Higher Education. She graduated with honors from the University of Iowa in 1995 with a degree in journalism and mass communications. You may contact her by e-mail at email@example.com
Baudrillard, Jean. Selected Writings. Stanford University Press, 1988
Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968.
Fallows, James. Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy. Pantheon Books, 1996.
Jameson, Frederic. Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Duke University Press, 1991.
Kurtz, Howard. Media Circus. Times Books (Random House), 1993.
Schudson, Michael. Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers. Library of Congress, 1978.
Lapham, Lewis. Hotel America: Scenes in the Lobby of the Fin-de-Siecle. Verso, 1995.
McLuhan, Herbert Marshall; Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. MIT Press, 1965, rpt. 1994.
Marx, Karl; The Grundrisse. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.