Hyperjournalism for the Hyperreader

Hyperjournalism for the Hyperreader

Arlette Huguenin Dumittan (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-773-2.ch023
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The internet has created numerous new text types. This development has not left the field of journalistic publications unaffected. The following chapter takes a close look at the so-called webzine. Other than online presences of established magazines, webzines have no counterpart. Characteristically, they are situated between being a purely journalistic publication and offering their users opportunities for online communication. The chapter analyzes this position by using representative webzines concerned with the non-mainstream music style of heavy metal. The findings, however, are also relevant to webzines dedicated to other topics. In the course of this chapter the influence of digital hypertext structures will be illustrated as well as the alternative text producer and recipient roles which are directly affected by the inherent interactivity of webzines. The chapter closes with an outlook on future journalistic publications on the WWW.
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It is not only the new forms of CMC on the WWW (such as instant relay chat or online forums) that have sparked the interest of linguistic researchers (e.g. Dürscheid, 2002, 2003; Jucker, 2002, 2003). Their research focus also includes alternative texts that have an informative function and serve a journalistic purpose. The most prominent example of these are blogs. Although not all blogs focus on general news-related issues (see Herring 2004 for an analysis of different blog types), they are a popular addition to newspaper sites where they are a frequently-updated column (see for example www.dagensnyheter.se, which both host different blogs). Crucial research regarding weblogs comes from Susan C. Herring (e.g. 2009, 2005). She defines weblogs as a genre (2005, p. 2) since they share structural and functional characteristics. Although the term genre is widely used and also applied in the field of art, it is generally used in English linguistics to refer to the new text types the internet has created. Besides its focus on the functional aspect, genre can also be preferred over the term text type, as the frequent use of hypertext structures in these young communicational forms raises the question of whether they are still text types and not hypertext types instead. Hence, webzines can also be considered a particular genre of the online world, which does not have an analogous predecessor and which combines journalistic (hyper)texts and CMC. Furthermore, webzines alter the roles of text producer and text recipient due to this unique combination, and offer new possibilities to their readers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Webzine: A webzine is an online magazine that combines journalistic content and CMC features, making use of hypertext technology. It may also make use of banner advertising for financing reasons.

Hyperlink: A hyperlink is an electronic linkage leading from one piece of website content to another. Hyperlinks may be used for referential, organizational or CMC-enabling purposes and are graphically marked.

E-Zine: The term e-zine is used for non-commercial online magazines. Their makers dedicate their leisure time to their production and focus on e.g. non-mainstream music such as grindcore.

E-text: An e-text is a text that has been transferred to the digital medium.

Hypertext: Hypertexts are texts where a reader can choose a non-linear reading path according to own interest. Non-digital hypertexts include newspapers or encyclopedias. Digital hypertexts can be non-seclusive and make use of hyperlinks. A hypertext can have several authors.

Seclusiveness: Seclusiveness means having clear boundaries. In respect to text linguistics, seclusiveness is a text criterion represented by texts with an obvious beginning and an apparent end.

Blogs: Blogs are public, online diaries. They can be dedicated to one specific topic (e.g. politics) or serve as a view on the world by one person. Other than diaries, blogs make use of hypertext features and motivate readers to respond via comments which are also published.

CMC: CMC stands for computer mediated communication. This includes forms of communication with several participants such as chat and online forums, but also forms with a private one-to-one angle such as personal e-mails or private messages (in online forums).

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