chapter  3
17 Pages

Network Journalism: Between Decentralization and Non-linear

ByNews Flows

The relative stability and centralized control of linear news fl ows, which characterized information exchange among journalistic outlets in the nineteenth century, remained a feature of news media until recently. Side by side with news agencies controlling news fl ows, corporate and public service news outlets were the leading (and often sole) distributors of information nationally and internationally. A ‘one-way, hub-and-spoke structure, with unidirectional links to its ends, running from center to the periphery’ (Benkler, 2006: 179) would dominate journalistic information exchange throughout the twentieth century. A very small number of outlets controlled this sphere such as national public service outlets in many European countries or corporate stations in the US, securing journalism production as ‘broadcasting to the masses’ (Chaffee and Metzger, 2001: 369). Journalists operated within a closed system, characterized in terms of a fairly simple structured sender-receiver model or a top-down organization of journalistic work (Bardoel and Deuze, 2001: 98; see also Beckett and Mansell, 2008: 93). This allowed only a relatively small number of actors such as politicians or public relations organizations to infl uence journalistic news agendas, for example, during humanitarian crises (Robinson, 2002).