In the period before both the Gutenberg and the Journalism Parentheses, these increments will have been reported serially, arriving at a given location in the same order as a concatenated series my diagram below is optimistic about their regularity. The effect is strikingly reproduced by Shakespeare towards the end of Macbeth and Richard III when the fall of both tyrants is presaged by the arrival of a series of messenger each bearing more recent news of the assembly, strength and approach of the opposing forces.
The classic journalistic news mediation within the Parenthesis subjects this sequential pattern to massive conglomeration, re-ordering and containment. Thanks to the practical affordances of print as a medium including the need to transport it across space , newspapers tended to be issued once every 24 hours, that is, in diurnal packages.
This requires people in the employ of the medium, diurnalists, to take whatever increments are available at the deadline. The journalists do the same at the next diurnal deadline only now with a pyramid shaping the increments received since last time, together with enough about the earlier increments to provide the narrative context. And so on for the next day.
Fine, C. Campion-Vincent, eds. Internet news, institutional or otherwise, is now effectively the business of momentalists, responding to information on an ongoing news story as it breaks, aided by the fluidity amenability to adjustment of digital texts. But the third response takes us beyond and to before the Gutenberg Parenthesis by adding each new increment with little editorial intervention or commentary as it comes in, typically at the top of the pile of existing increments. News reception once again becomes, as in the Greek or medieval market-place, a concatenated sequence of increments in chronological order which newcomers read in reverse-chronological sequence.
Currently, even in internet news mediation, the rounded article form remains the default mode, with the concatenation of news increments reserved for special circumstances.
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But all news actually comprises concatenated sequences which can subsequently be extended with meta-news of how the news was handled by other mediators , and is therefore amenable to this treatment. I accordingly agree with Jeff Jarvis that this will soon be the new default,29 with rounded articles as optional auxiliaries a task which computers are threatening to usurp anyway News Mediation We may, finally take a closer look at the processes of news mediation, that is, the avenues by which news of events and some invents comes to the attention of people who were not there, and where we can expected the same overall parenthetical scenario to be discernible.
Such news-transmitting encounters occurred on the road most people walked , at inns, and at places of customary assembly like wells or the barber-shop. A whole network of contacts was provided by bakers: their servants delivered bread to households in a cluster of communities and paused for gossip at the doorstep , while local customers brought their own loaves and pies etc.
For example in a Scotsman staying at the Angel Inn in Stilton, Huntingdonshire, told the ostler there that Scottish Catholics were on the brink of staging a major rebellion. The ostler told it to other travelers at the inn, including a Robert Johnson, who on returning to his own town told it to his brother in law Richard Sawyer, who told it to his son, Henry Sawyer, from yet another town. There he subsequently told it to travelers passing by the field in which he was working, including Christopher Coursey, who when he reached his home town told it to his neighbour, John Cooke, who told it to other neighbours, one of whom told it to a visiting friend from another town, who when he got back told the parson, who told the mayor, who told the magistrates who instigated the investigation that revealed the above sequence of links.
For further discussion and evidence see Ethan H. Tim Harris Basingstoke: Palgrave, , pp. Folklore Genres, ed. Texas Press, , pp. Performance and Communication, ed. Goldstein The Hague: Mouton, , pp. For a survey and discussion see Trevor J. Donald Haase Westport, CT, , pp. It is composed of people nodes who are disposed to listen to, remember, and pass on this particular type of information.
The most obvious conduits, exploited by a number of magazines, are those of feelgood rumors, which make the world seem brighter, either by promising good fortune or offering vicarious experience of it by reporting the lives of celebrities.
A more powerful option is suggested in my own studies in contemporary legends suggesting that most avid attention and credence is accorded to information which feeds on and feeds into deep, if not always fully formulated, anxieties not least about potential threats to well-being. However as a long-term strategy it is doomed or will need radical redirection: within a generation as the full version of this paper explains , those conduits will follow the altogether different anxieties, attendant on the cognitive impact of a new mediation technology, of digital natives.
For those in quest of a more honorable, proactive strategy, there is encouragement in the fact that disciplines as distant as Network Theory and Folklore which might be defined as the study of cultural transmission through networks point to the vital importance in this connection of the hub, also known as the super-node or Connector.
While there are some networks in which all nodes have a comparable number of links, in most, both naturally occurring e. Such hubs have also been discerned in the dissemination of rumor and gossip, qualified for this role independently of rumor content and on the basis of some recognized, intrinsic authority: people you go to in quest of unofficial news, and to whom you want to tell your own. It may be encouraging in a paradoxical sort of way that they have been identified particularly among employees of large businesses, by whose directors they are perceived as a threat.
As originally formulated during the Second World War , the notion of gatekeeping was related to a junction in the distribution of food products at which decisions were made as to whether items would proceed, and if so down which channel. Anita Felicelli. Uberworked and Underpaid. Trebor Scholz.
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