Tuesday 16 April 2002

Censorship Wins Out

This is a piece I wrote for Online Journalism Review, which ran it on 16 April 2002. It's been republished in quite a number of places since, including a McGraw-Hill reader called 75 Arguments.


Many journalists and activists have brought their struggle for democracy to the Internet but plenty of nasty regimes have learned to control the Net for their purposes...

A decade or so ago, it was all clear: the Internet was believed to be such a revolutionary new medium, so inherently empowering and democratizing, that old authoritarian regimes would crumble before it. What we've learned in the intervening years is that the Internet does not inevitably lead to democracy any more than it inevitably leads to great wealth.

Friday 5 April 2002

On the Frontline Online

This article looking at online news outlets in war zones originally appeared in Online Journalism Review on 5 April 2002.


Online publications in conflict areas suffer from the same wartime pressures all media face, and access issues mean their local influence is often minimal. Still, the few sites that manage to steer clear of propaganda can quickly become invaluable resources for decision-making readers.

Like other media, the Internet has been both a target and a weapon of war. Nothing particularly new or unique there.

What is new, at least in theory, is the ubiquity of the Internet and its low cost of entry, allowing all sides in any conflict to get their views out to the wider world. It is probably no exaggeration to say that every side in every conflict in the world has a Web site promoting its views.

Writing for a Global Audience

This article for Online Journalism Review originally appeared on 5 April 2002.


Of course you're international, you're on the Web, right? Uh, well, maybe.

The 'world-wide' part of the WWW has always been central to the 'wow' factor of the new medium. It's a truism of our time that the Web has opened up international communication and increased access to news and information from around the globe.

Online writers and editors frequently talk about writing for a global audience, but in practice, most seem to make little effort to address the particular problems such a challenge presents. This victory of pragmatism over theory is understandable: after all, the vast majority of publications, whether on the Web or not, are not truly international in focus, and no new medium is going to change this fact.

Still, there are some guidelines and a few easy tricks that are quick to implement to make a site more globally friendly.