Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Towards Journalism Everywhere

Adapting new technologies is an essential part of the development of societies. The important role of the communication professionals is to build bridges between niche specialist groups, such as engineers, and wider audience, for example by coining new, usable concepts to help us understand better the new technological innovations and their practical implications .

Many commentators argue that ubiquitous computing will be one of the main trends in future societies (Weiser 1991; Hunter 2002; Greenfield 2006; Bughin et al 2010; Nurmi et al 2010). As the society’s communication systems develop towards ubiquitous computing society, journalists and other communication professionals should not only be able to communicate about the new innovations, but also find new ways of producing and disseminating relevant information by using new ubiquitous communication tools.

So far, the journalists have mainly concentrated on reporting about ubiquitous computing. Even reporting has been slow. According to ProQuest Central’s digital newspaper archive, which consists of about 1200 news sources, ‘ubiquitous’, ‘pervasive’ or ‘ambient computing’ do not yet belong to the everyday vocabulary of global journalists.

However, according to the ProQuest’s digital newspapers database, the terms ‘machine-to-machine’ and ‘cloud computing’ were the most used metaphors. It can be argued that machine-to-machine and cloud computing are the most concrete of all the new terms related to ubiquitous computing. ‘As Keats (2011, 23) has noticed, because “our technology has become so advanced, and so abstract, - - we need antique metaphors to talk about it.”

In addition, according to Marshall Kirkpatrick (2009) the real-time web is “a paradigm based on pushing information to users as soon as it's available”. Kirkpatrick predicts that “real-time information delivery will likely become ubiquitous, a requirement for almost any website or service."

Another central concept, Internet of Things, means the networked interconnection of everyday objects. The phrase was coined by the MIT Auto-ID laboratory (Financial Times 2002; Dobson 2003). The exact year is yet to be confirmed by any authoritative sources. According to its website, the MIT Auto-ID Laboratory is dedicated to creating the Internet of Things using (RFID) and Wireless Sensor Networks.

Another try is from Greenfield (2006) who has marketed ‘everyware’ as a new metaphor for ubiquitous computing.

“In everyware, all the information we now look to our phones or Web browsers to provide becomes accessible from just about anywhere, at any time, and is delivered in a manner appropriate to our location and context."

After all of this, I will argue that we are heading to the era of “ubiquitous communication” and therefore we need also to add “ubiquitous journalism” or "journalism everywhere" into our language.