- behind the screen with independent designers, developers and others.
Online Journalism is a simple concept. Journalism Online.
What did you do before the Web?
Print journalism. I was an editor and columnist at the Sacramento Bee for 11 years before making the Great Leap Forward.
How did you find the web?
I was a fairly early member of the WELL, the SF-based virtual community that pioneered online conversations. From there, the leap to the web was a short one.
Why are you here?
For personal and professional reasons. My home page interlaces both family life and my online journalism career. And my weblog, now almost a year old, adds another dimension: spontaneous riffs on both the news of the day, long-term trends, and personal stuff I'm going through. It's also a great way to network with your wired peers, and to get on your digital soapbox and spout off. I've been writing for some years now about the need for online publications to embrace the ethos of the Net and get more interactive; the weblog's a way to beat that drum more consistently and forcefully.
Methods of production
What do you use to create your sites?
Trial and error. And usually hand coding. I find that some of the HTML editing suites and latest versions of Microsoft Office have become so bloated that they often can't perform simple updates well without introducing spurious and often erroneous coding.
About the Web
What do you see as the greatest strengths of the web?
My God, the web is an astonishing tool for connecting people who would never otherwise dream of interacting. Just in the past 48 hours I've gotten email from an unknown second cousin in Iowa who spotted her grandmother's name on my family tree; heard from a grad student in Switzerland who found a resource page I put up on peer-to-peer journalism; and heard from a couple in New York who spotted my travel article about honeymooning in Greece. If you're a social being, I can't imagine not being online.
What do you see as the greatest dangers?
Our privacy rights are becoming increasingly imperiled. And it'll get much, much worse. The government, corporations, your neighbors - almost everyone will have access to your personal information, with little trouble, and little to stop them. I touched on the subject at some length in Digital Footsteps.
What would you say to folks who want to work the web?
The web's now a part of the fabric of our lives. It's here to stay, and young people, especially, now think of it as something they just take for granted. So if you're going into a web-related field with some romantic notion that you'll be doing something cutting edge, you might want to reconsider. But if the web is your passion, go for it.
J.D. Lasica is Senior Columnist for the Online Journalism Review. He was the first new media columnist for the American Journalism Review.
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