Community or Colony: The Case of Online Newspapers and the Web

Authors

  • Patricia Riley,

    Corresponding author
    1. Director of the School of Communication at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School. A specialist in organizational communication, her recent research focuses on strategic and cultural changes in organizations that adopt new communication technology, and on communication in multinational organizations.
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  • Colleen M. Keough,

    Corresponding author
    1. Ph.D., is a faculty member at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California. Her primary research and teaching interests are in organizational communication, conflict management, and organizational development. She serves as a consultant to domestic and international organizations regarding the impact of technology on human resource issues.
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  • Thora Christiansen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication.
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  • Ofer Meilich,

    Corresponding author
    1. Currently finishing his dissertation at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He is a visiting professor at the Olin School of Business, Washington University, where he teaches organization design and business strategy. His main interest lies in how organizations manage their knowledge, especially in high-technology settings.
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  • Jillian Pierson

    Corresponding author
    1. Lecturer in communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California where she teaches courses in organizational communication and intercultural communication. Her primary research interest is communication in multinational organizations. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation which takes a dialectical approach to understanding the dynamics of cultural interactions among members of global work teams.
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Annenberg School for Communication, ASC203C, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281.

Annenberg School for Communication, ASC309E, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281.

Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281.

John M. Olin School of Business, Washington University in St. Louis, Campus Box 1133, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899.

Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281.

Abstract

Although the development of relationships on the Net may be seen as “community,” the increasing global presence from commercial media such as online newspapers suggest that another metaphor may be jousting for preeminence – colonization. Findings from an on-going case study of online newspapers suggest the early ideals of democratic community-building in cyberspace are encountering resistance as newspaper organizations delineate “virtual geographic space” and stake out “territory” on the web by subtly discouraging access to other sites (i.e., a type of virtual “homesteading”). Additionally, changes in the production practices of print journalists due to the emergence of electronic newspapers are discussed.

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