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Nicholas Johnson's Notes from

The Journalist in Cyberspace

A Warsaw Journalism Center International Conference

Palace of Culture Warsaw, Poland

October 11-12, 1997

Co-organized and co-sponsored by

the Goethe Institute, the Polish National Broadcast Council, the German Embassy, and the American Embassy


Introductory Note

The First Day of Conference Deliberations

Copyright Notice

The Second Day of Conference Deliberations


Appendix of Names and Addresses

Full, Advance Texts of Presentations

Journalists' Stories About the Conference

Introductory Note: (1) Although permission from most of the sponsoring organizations and presenters has been sought and freely given, and none have objected, some have not been contacted.

(2) Although these notes are copyright by Nicholas Johnson, permission is granted -- see below -- for most of the uses you probably had in mind. The ideas, of course, are those of the presenters. If you are interested in pursuing their ideas, and obtaining copies of their presentation, or other writings, you should contact the presenters directly (see the Appendix of Names and Addresses). Of course, academic and journalistic ethics, and courtesy, would dictate that the presenters be credited by you with whatever you use.

(3) It should be understood that what follows are rough, summary, extemporaneous notes initially made by and for the personal use of Nicholas Johnson; they are posted here at his own expense and without compensation from any source. They do not represent a "transcript" (with the exception of the final panel). The notes have not been edited. They have not been cleared with the presenters or sponsors -- none of whom bears any responsibility for what is here. In the case of some of the other-than-English-language presenters, the notes were made from the version provided by the simultaneous interpreters (in one case from German, into Polish, into English). Thus, the notes suffer from the defects encountered whenever one person tries to understand, and record, the thoughts of another. Moreover, in some cases the entries here are so truncated as to serve little communicative function, even for me! Accordingly, in no case should any presenter be held to having said what is here.

(4) At the same time, the notes represent my best effort to catch what was being said, as I have no economic or ideological interest in anything other than my best effort to capture a speaker's intended meaning. No person, or idea, has been deliberately omitted or distorted.

(5) When advance texts of remarks were made available to me links have been provided to them.

(6) Necessarily, there are no notes of the sessions in which I participated, with the exception of the last panel for which a tape recording was available.

(7) Further inquiries about the presentations should be sent directly to the presenter in question. An Appendix of Names and Addresses (when known) is provided. Once identified by full name, subsequent references are by initials. A "Q" refers to a questioner in the audience whose name was unknown at the time.

(8) Time of day is indicated, from time to time, throughout the notes (in 24-hour format; local Warsaw time).

(9) There is also a link to some photographs from the conference.

(10) If any of the presenters or sponsors would like to change anything that is here, although I am unable to rewrite these notes, if you will please simply send me the full text of what you would like inserted, and where (please use ASCII/DOS/Text format), I will either put your supplement/explanation/rebuttal there or create a link to it. (Please indicate spot for insertion by surrounding text, as "page numbers" change, of course, from one Web browser and computer to another.)

(11) Note that there are two days of conference notes. This is Web page contains the first day's deliberations only. This is the link to the second day's deliberations.

(12) In addition to expressing my thanks to the co-organizers and co-sponsors who conceived and executed the idea for this Conference, invited me and provided hospitality while in Warsaw, I would also like to thank the interpreters -- Iza Maszczyk and Andrzej Grza,dkowski -- who did such a professional job of making us understood to each other.

(13) If anyone reading this would like to e-mail me for any reason, the address is: (If your Web browser is not configured to use the "Mail To" feature this link provides, just use your usual e-mail software and send to

Thank you for your interest. Enjoy. -- Nicholas Johnson

The First Day of Conference Deliberations

October 11, 1997

The conference was opened by Dr. Peter C. Seel, Director, the Goethe Institute, Warsaw.


Marek Jurck, National Broadcasting Council.

Pessimists say the further we go into cyberspace the less use there is for journalists. Will reduce need for intermediaries, but will still need journalists. IT will bring about cultural revolution as well. Twentieth Century "mass democracy."

Fight between politicians and journalists. Politicians want more direct access. Journalists say effort to control. Cyberspace helps recreate the forum for free public debate. Can know, without newsroom, full text of what politician says.

What is worth writing about? Not just gossip. Can now have access to full domain about life.

Second. Mass democracy conducive to rather typical antagonism. Who is the subject of the freedom of expression? Free expression should guarantee that all participants given floor. Mass media narrowed to freedom for journalists. In Internet anyone, person, interest groups, can set up own page. Can restore balance in Twentieth Century. And journalists can be in touch with more subjects without contacting them.

Regulatory authority must focus on "truth" on Internet. Might become full of violence and pornography. But be clear as to where look for solutions.

Case of pornographer, pedophile. Arrested, stood trial, suspended sentence of nine months. Cyberspace like any other area of human life.

Journalists work more and more in the space between the citizen and the recipient.

Wish fruitful debate.


Jane Dobija. Jack Hoagland told her that paper was like writing about his life. 1980s; publisher of Christian Science Monitor. Person who could look to future; diversification, radio and TV; went against those thinking along traditional lines. 1989 Congressional assistance funds; appointed to working group, what measures, programs, to assist countries. Runs group of companies; JNet is one of them, servicing media organizations; programs on ecology for stations/cable. New technology creates new ethical issues. Journalists wonder if will still be needed. He has never let her down on ethical counsel.


Jack Hoagland. [The prepared, advance, full text of these remarks is available. See above.]

Changes and dislocations; more to come; from new tech impact on journalism. Different rates speed, etc.

Most important character, commitment and standards. Skills and tools changing very fast. Successful career in journalism turns on mastering the tools. Global conglomerates: newspapers, radio, television.

Internet. Online newspapers, clones of print editions; 100s in dozens of countries. Internal friction within the newsroom; hampering further development.

Broadcasting and cable different use of Internet. Less objection to continual update; that's what they do. Follow where naturally leads. Feedback an integral part of news gathering process. Cable and radio; alliances with telephone, software developers, other strategic partners.

Blurs former distinctions. "Wire services" have been wholesalers to those who deliver to public. Now public has direct access to AP, Reuters, others. Beginning to make difference. Direct competition with clients.

Internet turns sources into publishers. Begins to eliminate middle man. Roosevelt, 1930s, "fireside chats," effort to bypass media and go direct to public. Governments now maintain Web sites; users invited to provide feedback.

University North Carolina has new program devoted to "medical journalism." Possible to now have more specialized reporters of quality; even if quality of general news continues to decline.

Different from passive viewer. One's own opinion should be part of building a "collective view" on any topic. Very real; very international. Print editors have seen selves in ex cathedra capacity. Broadcasting different. CNN home page different; polling viewers as to what main stories ought to be; whether good remains to be seen, but clearly different approach.

Software giants. Microsoft. MSNBC; 24-hour news service on cable and Internet; large equity in largest cable operators; and have now started "Web TV." Set top box converts home TV to Internet receiver. "Sidewalk" from MS on the Internet. Competes directly with metropolitan press. Beginning to move into hard news reporting. Advertisers showing strong interest in these new developments, and newspapers are concerned. MS has been hiring away journalists from papers.

Developments give us a glimpse of what is coming world wide. Cable, telephone, wireless, existing journalism profession. Quickly become global.

Two stages. Direct transfer of formats from one medium to another: Web sites of daily newspapers. Continuing resistance from newsrooms. "Online is a mandate, not a belief." Resources going to operation that reaches only tiny audience; if works, threatens base of power.

Host medium. Today, online papers could not possibly support traditional newsroom. Don't have background, ethics, of journalists.

Telephone, cable, joint projects, mergers.

"Broadband." Combination of technologies; still, moving images, text, data at high speed. Massive injections of technology and capital. Banking, news and information, shopping. All transactions coming directly into home, school, workplace. But these industries unschooled in standards of journalism profession.

We need newspapers. They don't need frequency spectrum. So not licensed, subject to threatened government control. Still best, most penetrating, medium; ethics. Know dangers of corporate, distant ownership. First adopters of telegraph, telephone, fax. But resistant to massive changes to digital technologies. Fallen behind readership, public.

Younger people have not adopted newspaper reading habit. Even NY Times experiencing decline of 4% daily, 6% Sunday in six-month period. "Predominant morning daily," "predominant suburban weekly." But general purpose papers in trouble.

Eastern Europe; high literacy; newspaper readers; may be no challenge today; but likely to find in future, secondary effects.

"Synergy." MIT Media Lab been saying now in digital era; distributing bits not atoms; numbers not things. They are inexhaustible; don't devour trees, fill up landfills. They said: "All in same business; bits don't have to be attached to a specific medium." Cross-media synergies have been resisted by newsrooms, but ultimately will come because of economics so far as parallel news gathering groups is concerned.

Greatest opportunities will flow to those who can most easily cross the media lines. Integrated media center. All voice, text, video imagery; "digital refinery"; out of which can be retrieved, edited and formatted for any media outlet. Look at Web sites; not a distant vision.

Television. Text is more than ink on paper. Radio more than high fidelity. Trend to lower cost and greater ease in gathering news. News on demand, news by subject, frequently updated. Video news will draw largest public, and greatest trust.

TV and PC battle. Reality almost certainly to be convergence rather than competition. Co-development of home screen for multimedia interactive services. DBS greater than cable in some places.

Metropolitan news and information. High startup, but lower operating costs than ink on newsprint. Video news here to stay. Video skills will widen opportunities.

Costs of overseas bureaus, sending out four-person crews.

CBS coverage of T Square; CNN Peter Arnett Baghdad; reminders of how ingrained is public preference for on-site video news.

Small cameras, quality pictures; more satellite uplinks; can meet demand at much lower costs. Some now encouraging print journalists to use video cameras with radio and print. Free lancers are doing it; provides much more opportunity.

International media conglomerates will use part-time, on-call workers. Reliance on stringers.

Arthur Kent, CBC, saw big story in Afghanistan. CBC, NBC, Observer; he put together package to finance it.

Uplinks increasing fast. Common carriers, local stations; portable uplink stations. Small cameras; growing transponder capacity. All-digital sequence: camera, editing, transmission.

Tech sometimes disruptive. Contributes to decline of daily papers. Technology has served democracy quite well. Eventually new digital technologies will help. Unencumbered by past.

Early adopting and confident use of new technologies will be useful for young journalist.


Jane Dobija. Adam Powell, Freedom Forum, Arlington, VA. Private foundation supports freedom of speech. Adam responsible for new programs that use new technology. Scope and imagination.


Adam Powell III. Attempted to send by e-mail and fax, but didn't have plug. Once battery run down couldn't operate it.

"Technical Requirements for Today and in the Future."

Inside the black velvet case. Now so common it's free. Calculator. Same tool as in notebook computer: computer chip. Only difference is time.

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, price down and power up: every 18 months the power double. Every 20 years the price of computing power falls by a factor of 1000. Has held since 1940s ENIAC. Artillery trajectories. 1960s, small calculator, same functions, thousands, not millions of dollars. By 1980s between $1 and $10.

1976, Ed Fouhy and he covering U.S. elections, President Carter, wanted real-time animated computer graphics. Would require $7M Cray computer. Used cardboard cutouts. 1996, 20 years later, CBS had real-time animated computer graphics. Instead of $7M Cray, Silicon Graphics $6,000. Look ahead to 2016. Power of Cray in homes; power of Silicon Graphics in every baby's toy.

Machine with size of notebook computer permits editing video in field and sending to satellite. MS Netshow, Progressive Networks Real Player. Can listen to radio, watch TV, from all over the world, on notebook, without radio or TV set. Now 700 radio stations, 24 hours a day.

SONY PC-TV. Can work on PC and watch TV in corner of screen.

How long it takes new technology to reach 50% households in country: 70 years for telephone. Color TV 17 years. AM radio 10 years. Computers and Internet moving faster; 1999 at latest in U.S.; if look at Web as starting point.

Implications for journalism clear. Adopting by audience by 10M's.

Only constant is change. Summer and fall. September 17 Intel announced multi-level cell memory; more memory, less space and price. Fractional charges, not just 1s and 0s. Britain, new amplifiers working from pulses of light; faster connections. 40th Anniversary Sputnik, Freedom Forum conference; coverage of science and technology; major story of 1997 was not Mars, Indonesia, Bosnia but IBM, six weeks ago, that can deposit copper by silicon chip (?).

Tools in lab: flat panel newspaper now in first working model, from Toshiba, 8-1/2 x 11. Merger of newspaper and television. Headlines, touch and get full story; graphics/pix and get video.

Digital paper. Sheets of plastic, store print. Text transferred to it through phone, device.

Future without keyboards; voice activation. UAL now taking reservations with the tech. What do to writing, return to oral tradition.

Newspapers use of computers for production, reduce costs. Can now read most major U.S. newspapers for free off the Internet. Some in Africa, many in Asia online. 700 radio stations. TV live on the Internet; RealPlayers. Now very low resolution.

CNN, MSNBC, USAToday are top three Internet sites. All new. Now leaders. More go to these every day than most popular cable television programming services. Yahoo offers news; among most popular sites; to compete with NYT, USAToday. Most very, very new. Tonight more Americans will use AOL than will go to CNN or MTV.

CBS rejoiced at satellites 20 years ago. Fed pictures via telephone lines, $3000. Now $300 from anywhere to NY. What none anticipated was effect of lower barrier to entry. Same forces that lowered costs for them lowered them for near-bankrupt Channel 17 in Atlanta, and gave him new idea of CNN.

Today, in print media, anyone with desktop computer and access to the Internet can start a "newspaper."

May be computer or telephone companies, corporate public relations firms, or government agencies. Can hear 7000 audio services that are only on the Internet; not radio stations. Freedom Forum does it with conferences.

Summer saw glimpse of future. Most popular source for pictures of Mars was not CNN or NYT; more people went to NASA Web page. Millions of requests; had to set up additional sites. Got high marks from serious journalists. But will people accept news direct from government?

Play, Tom Stoffert (?), play, Ballentine, mathematician, trying to explain physics, "This is a wonderful time to be alive, when everything you knew is wrong."

Nicholas Johnson: Q: Why this technology not capable of establishment censorship/control?

JH: U.S. huge effort to become toll keeper on Information Superhighway. Corporate projects to try to be a part of the toll keepers. But new technologies more difficult to control. Anyone can set up as news and information source. Some risks; but public gets more skeptical, well educated. Would not yet rule out power of corporations to become toll keepers.

AP: Definitely agree. Freedom Forum Hong Kong office. Experts from around Asia. Viet Nam, Singapore, China. So far, even a government as wealthy as Singapore or as large as China has not been able to control content. Can make access very expensive; was no ISP in Viet Nam. Disbursed architecture. Not like printing plants, or transmitters. Distribution inherently decentralized. Designed for nuclear disaster. Effective so far. Not to say governments won't make some things illegal.

Q: Importance of advertising in online. Who has profit, NYT, or journalists?

JH: Some advertising has started to pay: CNN, MSNBC, USAToday. Long time before free-standing, independent, money-making sources. [Mentioned in remarks WSJ is only one which now charges.] Culture of newsroom built up for so long, opposition to new ways of doing things. Advertising; where is it placed in respect to text. Some content is shaped to support the advertiser.

AP: Two to ten people can operate the Web page for a newspaper. Revenues from sports news, advertisers there (young, male readers). ESPN, owned by Disney, claims its Web page profitable. Chicago Tribune article; highest growth in Playboy is on the Internet, from advertising and pay-per-view. Not surprising; early adopters of home video, and even print, were pornography. NYT, others, argue that they own rights to journalists' product when put on Internet, but still some controversy.

JH: A continuation of long battle between journalist and publisher; true of syndication, contributions to public radio and other media. Strong interest of ad agencies in new media. National level, all agencies have new media people. GM has advertising VP just for Internet. JH interested in new MS activity. Local advertising generally more than national for paper. Part of reason is timeliness. With Internet can change by the hour.

AP: Internet and ownership of information. Who owns information, sports events? Sold football rights for billion dollars to Murdoch's network. They say, rights include right to take pictures and put on the Internet. League says, "No. We have our own Internet site." International Olympics Committee; has broadcast rights to broadcasters around the world for a great amount of money; but those who attend can take pictures; IOC says if put your pictures on Internet you are violating their rights policy. What if just copy down the height cleared by pole vaulter? IOC says that statistics are also covered. Basketball League, and universities, all statistics belong to the league. January 9th conference, will be on the Internet.

Q: Young readership fall-off; can online interest youth in the printed product?

JH: Readership for under-35 declined sharply, no reason to believe will come back up; they are more likely to go to the Internet. When do, will find replica of newspaper page; won't carry papers very far. What user sees on other sites is interactivity. First thing you get is something that engages you.

AP: No hard evidence that those who use Web site of a newspaper migrate to the print side. Dow Jones' Web sites are cannibalizing the print side. Mostly young. NYT some similar evidence. But hoping to reach new audience (presumably, in excess of those they lose from print). Those under 12; AC Nielsen; children 2-5, 6-7, 8-9; television viewing; children in households with computers are not watching broadcast television in numbers anywhere near those of other households; use TV for video games, videocassettes, plug in computer; but huge drops in audience for broadcast television; now reflected in numbers for population as a whole. Ad Age headline, "Where have the children gone?" Advertisers in panic. Same age groups fastest in adopting Internet. So advertisers redirecting advertising to Internet. Anecdote: end of Clinton-Dole debate, Dan Rather announced the CBS Web site, crashed all computers at CBS with millions of hits, millions watching TV and on the Internet at the same time.

Q: What is the future for operating computers without keyboard?

AP: Now rudimentary; for limited vocabulary (UAL's "want to leave on such and such a date and go to destination"); IBM software being used by UAL; claim within a year can translate from English into another language. He likes science fiction. MIT, Arpanet, 1960s; offices lined with science fiction books. Time travel; story of man who comes back to find computer, tries to talk to the screen, then into the mouse; simply assumes need no keyboard.




Jane Dobija. Asked TVN to participate, but workload prevented them from attending, so John Hoagland to present TV point of view.


Mariusz Ziomecki. No longer editor-in-chief of news magazine, working on new titles for Axel Springer.

Cyberspace. How to change Planet Earth, authors and editors. Yes, revolution, in the making, but we want to put our finger on it. Didn't have hardback and paperback books the day after Gutenberg.

Maybe refrigerator will send electronic impulses to you.

Focus on how revolution manifests in various media.


Ernest Skalski. Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Gazeta Wyborcza. Not an expert in Cyberspace; expert knows a thing or two about something. Not even a moderate user of this contraption.

"Cyber" conjures up science fiction. Department of Physics at Warsaw University in early 1990s was one of first places. Interested to navigate through Library of Congress.

We now float our logo on Web. But not much more. Offer a summary of information; main headlines. Keep information on new Constitution for some time to come; becomes effective in February; and flood in Poland. No one would read full text of all stories in paper if on Web.

Would probably put in English as well. We have 2000 employees. Could hire a few translators. Cyberspace is needed, but not as much as other things. May be mismanagement, but that is the reality.

Research department is main user of Internet. Still perceived as novelty. Telephone used daily.

MZ: Does every journalist have access?

ES: A few with access. Could expand access. After science section then economics section started to use it. Housed next door; eavesdropped. Foreign affairs uses it.

Use is like that of someone in library who picks up books that interest them, rather than the one they came to get that they need.

NASA illustrations. Sometimes embargos are imposed.

MZ: Your photo journalists?

ES: Yes, but need to pay hard money for that. We used Reuters, with whom we've signed an agreement. I'm just talking about use of it for research.

What problems? Chaos. Random nature of search. Unreliable information. We need to confirm, or reconfirm what we publish.

Will have electronic version, but primarily for promotion. None of the papers in the U.S. have generated money from Web pages. Really need a separate newsroom of journalists. Radio, television, Internet all have specific needs.

MZ: How have to change print information to make it useful on the Internet?

ES: Need bullet points. Can't use feature article. People won't read whole article. Television needs pictures. Radio can't simply read what's in print.

MZ: Need to attract advertisers to be profitable.

ES: Internet buffs. Esperanto excellent idea, but only used by enthusiasts to communicate with each other about Esperanto.


Stanislaw Je,drzejewski, Vice President, Polish Radio. We are focusing too much on the Internet. Radio, old medium, can't brag or complain -- depending on whether optimist or pessimist -- about the use of such diverse and different technologies, whether production or transmission.

Most radio stations are not yet fully digitalized. Radio stations emerge from monopoly structures. Editing in digital form. One transmitter uses totally digital, but receivers quite expensive. BBC runs all domestic programs exclusively as DAB systems; covers 88% of GB. American radio still awaits which system to opt for. Use of computers for management. Can use CD-ROMs for archiving, even though in analog form. But very expensive. Archives can't be used in fully digital system. Polish Radio has one million tapes in its archives. Is it worth it to transfer? If not all, then some? DAT as digital tape. CD-ROMs more durable.

Have recently seen many technological solutions for radio editing when recorded and stored in digital form. These are not rapidly implemented, even in U.S. Apparently not profitable for U.S. radio to make quantum leap.

MZ: Could we return to role of the journalist? Do radio journalists behave differently in digital environment?

SJ: If want to use state of the art editing systems they become the editors as well as the authors. The roles are blurred.

MZ: There is a similar phenomena in magazines. Journalists involved in layout of stories.

SJ: Assumption of editors/producers role will be taken over not only by journalists, but will be automated more and more. New skills part of toolbox of journalist; more skills needed in multimedia, in production.

[Graphic on overhead projector.] Computer; three transformations. 1. Storage of material on different media. Many sources. 2. IT. Editing, backup, archiving, transmission. 3. Telecommunications.

Polish Radio creates domestic and other programs.

Impact on journalists. First, allows to reduce number of personnel. New ways of audio expression. Will always be those who want to use traditional radio. But for journalists, more opportunities from digitization.

Conference with RAI radio. Pictures accompanied by music. They said "Radio using a new language." But really just radio pretending it is television.

Polish Radio has produced CD-ROMs from archives. What's different is just the delivery system.

MZ: Uncertainty. What to do with all this technology? Some gains, some losses; e.g., stock market report pages. Some in U.S. just use computers to check movie schedules. Some publishers have access to Internet, but keep under lock; concern about the phone bill.


JH: View that have to be separate news staffs. Economics will soon overwhelm that, but major issue now.

Comments on radio valuable. Do need to keep talking about digitalization and not about the Internet. Digitalization having massive impact on everything. Editing changing from the old cut and tape editing of audio tape.

Changes role of editor. Can easily go back and access earlier material.

Changes distribution. Effect of compression. Five networks can now occupy the same transponder space that used to be required for one.

PolTel. High sense of service about TV and its role. It's viewed as public service, public good, community bulletin board to which everyone should have access. Some phases look vulgar to long-time television viewers.

He asked to do "due diligence" of new Eastern Europe TV network. During two-week period four global media conglomerates tried to acquire it.

Tremendous opportunities for secondary use. Availability of papers from home country for people in U.S. For television some great opportunities coming. Ability through digital means to repackage news and information from each country to the population from that country in the U.S.


MZ: Many young people here just starting journalistic careers. Should they be concerned about computers?

ES: I started 39 years ago. Had older colleagues who didn't recognize typewriter. Some dictated to linotype. I started with a typewriter. Now have first computer. Recognize changes are inevitable. Need skills. Have to be able to read and write -- mere speaking not enough in radio.

Caution: don't invest too much. Was early enthusiast of Internet. Colleagues cooled him down. From time to time get an e-mail from a reader in North America complaining that not on the Internet, but there's a limit to what can invest.

World's Fair in Korea saw HDTV in research stage. Would think would predominate in world in four years. But didn't happen; world moved in different direction. Would have to replace all equipment. Electronics manufacturers were excited to sell equipment. But had we gone with it, would have still been with analog.

SJ: Internet no longer such a novelty for journalist. There are 3000 stations using RealAudio on the Internet. In Europe about half the stations in Europe visited by less than 1000 visitors; some in U.S. have over 10,000. Treated as kind of promotion for the station. Internet treated as information exchange platform. Advice: learn to use, don't be afraid; all multi-media, not just the Internet. No technology can replace your imagination and common sense. It's all just a tool for your imagination.

JH: Advice 1, 2 and 3. Looking ahead 10 years, have a very open mind. Second, absorb as many skills as early as possible -- even though many won't last. The open mind, the ability to learn, the willingness to learn. Adam Powell was talking about things already here, moving at a very wide pace. Gulf [between information rich and poor] is very wide and widening and is very dangerous, especially for a young journalist. Skills will open up the opportunities you will need. Big organizations don't want to keep big, full-time staff. Need to be your own activity center.

MZ: Assume no questions. Still have half an hour.

Peggy Simpson: Freelance reporter, mostly covering business news out of Poland. Write for seven different organizations. For all of them the Internet is essential. Does not use hard copy or faxes -- unless something happens to TPSA and can't connect. Talk to editors by the Internet, e-mail, usually rather than by phone. Warsaw Business Journal columnist. Some 40 employees; papers in Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, expanding to three other countries. Only eight are reporters. Translators come in the morning; read five papers; e-mail and fax services; get at 1000 everyday. Expensive, but they see it as building on a news base. Web page in August was about something in April; but just wanted a presence. Research abilities not what should be. Gets about six e-mail services.

MZ: About 40% households have computers in U.S., 25% Germany, 7% in Poland. Talking about a situation that should be clear within Poland. Striking that all concerned about loss of revenues/audiences. For print media more risky. Learn profession in print. There will still be photo journalists, not just editors of photos. Few weeks ago to the Sequoia Hospital in Silicon Valley. Colleague started to talk to doctor there, well known for methodology. We will have to embrace the need to learn all the time, and computers are a part of that approach.

ES: We have to cooperate with the computers, and learn the Internet. Difference between using it as a means of distribution, not just technical novelties, and introducing some order into the jungle. In what way will editors show information to the readers? Seems print media due to die. Have to chop down a lot of trees for newspapers. But renewal resource. But have to transport: timber, paper. Printing plant takes more space than electronic distribution. Then have to transport. Next day is thrown away. Extremely costly. Any electronic system far less expensive, but who will carry the cost? With print media the reader carries only a small portion of the costs. Advertising provides the greatest revenue. For them we are merely a vehicle. Users have to invest in computer, or television, and phone line. Level of income in Poland is several fold lower than elsewhere. Would have major revolution in Poland before newspapers disappear.

AP: Question was raised about value of translating from Polish to English. Some countries ahead of U.S., such as Finland. Will future require more Polish language material to contribute to rapid growth in the media? Otherwise like "kissing through a handkerchief."

SJ: Stunning that 40% of households. Poland is 0.3% of households in world on Internet. It's 16th in Europe. Finland is the country with the greatest number of hosts, most homes with Internet. Specific culture, language.

MZ: Two magazines in Poland, "WWW" and "Internet."

JH: Print will disappear? Impossible. Every new media a threat to old. Old have always adapted. His youth, magazines were general purpose, Life, Colliers, Saturday Evening Post. They are out of business, but magazine business has expanded. Gives perfectly packaged medium for advertiser. Horse population is now at an all-time high, the automobile did not replace the horse. Newsroom is fighting this so hard. And yet skilled writers are going to be as needed as ever.

MZ: On this optimistic note to conclude our first session suggests there is still some future ahead of us. Polling agency says main news on TVP1 has 22% share. Should make sure we don't lag behind. Writing skills are important; work at it; because the profession is fun.


JD: Reconfirm desire to participate in Embassy Internet session this evening.

Luncheon break.


Tom Delaney. Thanks to Goethe Institute. Audience's demands and expectations. Allow audience to have expectations and express them from new technology. Expert and practitioner. Karol Jakubowicz, former chair, Supervisory Council, Polish Television. Daniel Droessler, German Press Agency. User can now access directly; what is the role of the journalist, of the newspaper?


Karol Jakubowicz. I'm dying to meet the man you introduced. Paper, "Does Journalism Have a Future: A Few Preliminary Observations." [A link to the full advance text of this paper is available; see above.]

Audience often forgotten. T.H. Marshall's three aspects of citizenship. Communication rights an indispensable extension of social rights. Access to information; advice and analysis; ability to pursue effectively. Access to the broadest possible range of debate. Must be able to use media to organize. Must be able to recognize themselves in mass media; images of themselves.

Need for information and interpretation. Journalist relied on to perform many tasks. Habermas, seven functions: surveillance, meaningful agenda setting, facilitating a dialogue.

Some would like to delegate job of journalism to professional interviewer -- but with audience in mind.

People want to re-enforce group identity.

Citizenship not just civic and social. Rights to information, experience.

The right not to communicate, not to be communicated to.

New technologies introduce three features. Interactivity. Individualization (messages to particular individuals). A-synchronous communication. Top down, one way, sender active-receiver passive, receding into past. What is emerging is "conversation" -- anyone can be a sender at any time.

Also "consultation." E.g., the video rental store, the sender is doing nothing; likewise with Web site. User determines what information s/he wants.

More opportunities for individuals. "We are all senders." "Network media."

The GII (Global Information Infrastructure).

"Information pressure" is building. Explosion of information. Easier access. Growing amount of information in circulation. Speed is increasing. Density increasing; private and public spaces packed with information.

What mean for journalism. "The Daily Me," the individualized newspaper. His or her own user profile reflected. Role of journalist decreased. Zapping becomes order of the day. Faster reporting means less time for processing. News from Viet Nam took 30 hours to process; from the Gulf it was instantaneous.

"Absently present" describes audience in front of a TV set. Time shifting with answering machines, VCR.

Dis-intermediation, removal of intermediary.

CNN collects information as fast as possible; uses satellites to get news, but also to distribute. Tends to eliminate the editor. Simultaneous editing, or none at all.

"Tele-graphic" society. Old media will remain, adapt.

The "journalist" as "information broker." Raw information, databases.

Not all regions of the world will be hooked up immediately to the GII. Traditional journalism will remain, for them, the only viable option.

"Information exhausts itself in the staging of information."

"More and more information, less and less meaning."

People may lose way on Information Superhighway and opt out. Greater need for gatekeepers, capable of agenda setting.

Sieko, "Journalism and mass media will continue to be necessary to shine the light on society." "Orientating journalism."

"Communication" rather than "information" becomes the key word.

Need knowledge of technology, presentation by menus and trees, understanding, marketing, audience feedback. Journalists will need to work for multiple media; will need to consolidate functions; recycle. Will become "tele-workers."

Human needs will not change as fast as technology.


Daniel Droessler. German Press Agency. Everyday life at Warsaw Bureau. Satellite on top of office; our link to the world. All DPR news stories come in; and can file stories; from desktop computer goes to editor in Hamburg; and from there back out by satellite to subscriber who may use in newspaper.

Story only typed once. Used to be typed by correspondent, retyped into wire service, rewritten on typewriter, given to typesetter.

Story is out in matter of seconds; actually do consider who gets out story first; promotes mistakes, because re-reading may take another 30 seconds. Speed is one of forces of change we have already lost control of.

According to Nicholas Negroponte will lead to the end of the mass media. Key word is "personalization." Makes sense. More and more information per unit time. But makes it harder to get what you need.

They "filter;" use less than 1% of what's available to them. Editors filter again; take less than 30% of their stories to use for German audience. About 700 stories a day offered by DPA. Newspaper editor filters yet again. Reader of newspaper filters also. So difficult to reach German reader with story out of Poland.

Individuals might want many of the stories that are edited out. Crime in Warsaw; agricultural production for farmer.

German papers carry today much less international news than they did 10 years ago.

Do papers have to be printed on paper? No; 90 years ago someone observed that newspaper does not require print.

Can you put jam on bread and read "paper" [that is displayed on an electronic device] at the same time? This morning heard of devices that might replace paper.

On Internet can include audio clips, or provide link to archives.

Information overload; this may not sound like solution. Some believe "personalized newspapers" will be the answer. "The Daily Me" vs. "The Daily Us." As unique as your fingerprint. Know your job, age, travel destinations, political convictions. Search for information of relevance to you. Sounds like Orwell. Computer system that knows all about you and tracks what you read.

MIT, "News of the Future" program, information will have to be as secure as bank account in Switzerland. One of biggest challenges in future will be personal privacy as more data are collected.

Not what a newspaper is about. How broaden interests? Would create elites, and many left without information.

Now we collect, filter, evaluate, explain, integrate into a larger context. Can't manage information overload by improving computer programs.

But computers can be used to help the journalists do the job.

Journalists do need to know what is out there. Not true that good old newspaper will never change. They will; and journalists need to change, too.

Today need to fit story to computer. Need to put in computer's categories; codes (e.g., for economics, politics). May have global standards as to codes.

Information to society, make sure it works. Also, personalized information.

Need to make sure the information really reaches the consumer. At the end of the day it has to be journalists who actually write the stories.

Merger of forms. Will be more overlap between newspapers, radio, TV; e.g., sound bites connected to online print paper, link to map. Need more sophisticated data bases.


Tom Delaney. Interactivity. Disappearance of journalist. Where is it headed?

NJ: Informational presentation regarding PointCast, Nexis. Then question about what to do with "information rich-information poor" gap in paying Nexis $200 per hour?

Ruth Mara: She needs all stories on NATO expansion; needs journalists, but less reliant on publications as such.

DD: Pessimistic regarding gap. Knowledge and information gap will widen. Huge world population has no access to newspapers either. Electronic newspapers no solution. Better informed news elites. Growing number who have no access. Inevitably lead to wider gap.

KJ: New world information order. No answer. Must come from economic development. Reminded of discussion in Salzburg; leading discussion on new technologies. Man from Cyprus interested in new information technologies. Someone talked about satellites, computers. He publishes magazine, longhand, wife puts into satellite, she gives disk to printer. Doesn't need satellite, uses a donkey. Doesn't need delivery by computer; needs cheap printer he can use at home. KJ came from Azerbaijan. Prior censorship continues. There is no answer to inequality. No way one can help Third World countries catch up other than by their own economic development.

Ed Fouhy: WSJournal put together "Daily Me" in 1989, but only 30,000 use it.

KJ: People with access to Internet spend more time doing that than with TV or even newspapers. Must differentiate between fact and hype. Manufacturers have a product to sell. Humans don't change so rapidly. "Commodification." Information will, more and more, take on the form of a product which will have to be paid for. If Nexis costs $200 an hour, a premium cable channel will cost less, but still cost. "The 'pay per' society." More and more information will be provided for a price, and at a much higher price than for a newspaper. It also requires skills to operate a computer, and skills that most people do not have.

DD: Services available today are not what "Daily Me" is about. If have to know address, some computer skills. Not conclusive that services (like WSJ) not widely used yet. In future we may have devices as easy to use as newspaper.

KJ: Need to look at way people use media. Cable offers great choice, but most users watch three or four on a regular basis. Need is need for tension reduction, escape. Pie-in-sky rhetoric regarding great profusion of content. What do you want to find out when you turn on the radio in the morning? That nothing has happened.

Q: Koln. KJ, you mentioned "communications." What is "old" and "new order"? DD, you spoke of speed and quality; why not have longer story next morning rather than be 30 seconds earlier?

KJ: In 1960s-1980s battle in UN fought over "new world information order." Countries discovered that independence didn't mean sovereignty. Still dependent on West for news of the world. Couldn't break into media distribution channels. Wanted balance. Communist countries into the act; stick to beat the West; politicized the issue; great international conflicts followed. "New conversation order"; difference between sender and receiver will be abolished. Potentially this is coming if can eliminate gaps between, and within, countries.

DD: Problem of drive for speed is hard to solve. Of course, it would be better to wait and write better. But we are a news agency and want to be the first. That is our job. Breaking news has to be delivered immediately. If a half hour later would get a call from Hamburg. But there are different kinds of news; for some time makes much less difference. Story, which later turned out to be erroneous, that student had been killed, speeded change in Czech.


Tom Delaney. Wrap up. His situation with U.S. government. Area of coverage is Bosnia. As government employee I could make case for why we should be involved in Bosnia. But as citizen would hate to have that as only source.

Afternoon break.


Sigrid Salversberg. Goethe Institute. Hermann Meyn. Chair, German Journalists Association. How the profession responds to the new media.


Hermann Meyn. I have a message for you. Can only repeat what all speakers have said. Cannot cite authorities, only myself.

You have time to relax.

Good message for translators. I am learning English, speak slowly, so they can also relax.

Drinking one glass of wine in a Bonn restaurant accompanied by wife, and saw mice on floor. Asked waiter, "Do you know that there are mice in your restaurant?" "Yes, we know." Asked to see manager. "Yes, I know it. But I cannot catch them myself." "Why sure none in kitchen?" "Because told waiters to look to floor as enter kitchen to make sure no more mice." Wanted to write story for paper. Was told, "Very interesting, but we must be careful because business interests. That's for Bild." Told Bild. "Mice in restaurant. That's not a big story." "But the guests are playing with the mice." "Write it." "But big company." "Good. We stand for criticism of big companies." Wrote, "The x restaurant has everything, even mice for playing." Appeared, "One restaurant [no name] has mice for playing." The owner is one of the biggest companies and provides lots of advertising.

Story has to do with topic. Advertising will play a large role in the Information Society of the future.

Media three purposes. Inform. Shape public opinion. Criticize. Also entertain.

New technologies producing a lot of information trash. More information does not mean better information.

Government in Bonn. Someone told him how proud that government has access to more information than former governments. Asked, "Do you think your policies are better?" No answer.

The new challenge for the journalism of the future: must help citizens to get informed, to get oriented.

Editor not only decides content of the newspaper, but design. Many papers have online services; additional editors; must think about graphics, pictures, even videos.

Local journalist doesn't need access to Library of Congress. Local event; must attend; no research. Most journalists in FRG edit and shorten stories; work at desks. No necessity, no time, for using Internet. Research in general, and on Internet in particular, is only for a few journalists now, and will be in the future.

Investigative reporting limited to a few journalists with a few magazines and other media. But majority are local journalists with no need for Internet.

Online services will never replace the newspapers. Small audiences. Newspaper belongs to the breakfast. There will be newspapers as long as you cannot kill a mosquito with a TV or computer screen.

Digital TV and analog. Now possible to put 10 programs on one channel. Is 300-channel cable service the revolution we've been told about?

Reasons for skepticism. (1) Much too expensive. Today spend 50 marks for 30 channels. Digital: rent for decoder, additional fees, even more for particular programs; cost doubles. Opinion polls show few willing to spend more. (2) What's available is enough; why would Germans want more than English and French? (3) Maybe success in ten years. Sports, feature films and sex are types of programs already available, and will be what digital TV needs.

Up to 90% of public broadcasting costs from fees. Also private companies.

High risk. If Germany eliminated from World Cup early, fewer viewers bidding for TV coverage. Games on pay TV cable services.

Sex channels. Up to now, not licensed. Erotic can be broadcast; but not pornography. Sorry that forgot films to show differences. Hope of digital video cable services.

Deutche Telekom, Bertlesmenn, Kirch major players. May have a media concentration unlike anything we've seen before in Germany.

New opportunities and new risks.

Newspapers; online; films on channels.

Unions demand every use must produce pay for creator.

In future, fewer journalists in offices. Free lancers are cheaper. In worse position.

Information society of future presents new chances. The Internet presents the opportunity for the whole world to communicate.

AP: Payment of journalists for successive uses of material; where stand now in Germany?

HM: Publishers pay journalists for work, but includes all future use. Publishers have everything, journalists have nothing.

Q: How many newspapers and magazines in online version in Germany?

HM: Only small papers without online; 50,000 or more circulation have online services, extracts or full pages.

NJ: Please comment on German government effort to control Internet content, with impact on what was available to CompuServe subscribers everywhere.

HM: We have a law, but not practical, controlling pornography and fascist materials, coming from Bavaria.

AP: Online service by ZDF caused some negative reaction by Bertlesmenn. Why Bertlesmenn unhappy?

HM: It makes many efforts to sell the online services, but knows it will be to Year 2000 before profits. This is an investment for the future.

PS: But why opposed to ZDF?

HM: They say public service gets money from license fees and it is not to be used for online or other extra services. But reality is that public radio can do such services, and all offer them.


SS: This evening in Embassy with practical demonstration, workshop of how to use the Internet.


Close of first day of conference deliberations.

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