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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Panel speaks on Internet journalism

Eight Dartmouth alumni journalists discussed the impacts of burgeoning Internet-based news media and the "dot-com generation" yesterday morning in Cook Auditorium.

The speech was titled "Will Internet Own the News?" and was part of The Dartmouth's bicentennial celebration weekend.

"In a relatively short time, we shifted from Baby Boom to Generation X, and to Generation dot-com," Kenneth Roman '52, moderator of the panel and former Editor-in-Chief of The Dartmouth, said. He pointed out that 30 percent of U.S. households have used the top 11 news-only web sites, which provide real time news, sports and weather information.

"I work for the advertising industry and 30 percent is not an insignificant number," he added.

Jamie Heller '89, the executive editor of, a web-based financial publication, said there is an increasing demand for quicker news service.

"The best quality news media want to get their news out immediately," Heller said.

Jennifer Avellino '89, who works for CNN, said many newspapers cannot wait until the next morning to send out the stories and they often put the news online the night before.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and College Trustee David Shipler '64 said the real impact of the Internet is that it is used as a "tool" for reporting. He explained that many journalists today use the Internet as sources of data research.

"Now, the Internet is much more intensively used by reporters," he said. "I have changed, and we all have to change." Shipler is also a member of Board of Trustees.

Christopher Johnson '94, who works for America Online, said there is a danger to the phenomenon because anybody can get and put information on the web.

"It is hard to figure out what is accurate," he said.

Susan Dentzer '77 said the increasing amount of information available on the web is not necessarily a good thing. Dentzer, who has worked for U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek, added that people are armed with information but the information they take off the Internet may not be credible.

"Having more information doesn't mean that there is more understanding," she said.

The New York Times writer Christopher Wren '57 said there is always a strong demand for high quality news analysis. He quoted his experience as a reporter in Johannesburg when former South African President Nelson Mandela was released from prison. He said that although CNN provided faster and visual images of the event, the sales of The New York Times went up the following day "because people wanted to know what it [the news] meant," he said.

The Wall Street Journal editorial writer Paul Gigot '77 agreed. "People always pay for content," Gigot said. "There's a demand for high quality news analysis."

However, others said that there is less hunger for in-depth news analysis among the younger "dot-com generation" and that is why there is a growing concern surrounding drops in newspaper circulation.

The panel also discussed the pressure of immediacy on news media, as the public is less willing to wait until the following day after an event for news.

In addition to the panel, The Dartmouth celebrated 200 years of independent student journalism in Hanover throughout the weekend -- by hosting a banquet in Alumni Hall Saturday night, which included a speech by College President James Wright, and a colloquy with present staff and former staff yesterday.