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The construction of digital culture in two Jamaican newspapers – analog and digital versions E-learning and Digital Cultures Charmaine McKenzie s0972946

Introduction Research shows that cellular or mobile technology enjoys significant popularity in Jamaica. In 2006 the country ranked 106/222 in cellular phone usage worldwide ( Dunn and Dunn (2007, p. 4) point out that there is ‘almost ubiquitous access to the mobile phone across all classes and the two gender groups’ and note rapid growth in the user base for mobile phones between 2000 and 2007 as a result of policy change, foreign investment in the sector and competition. The researchers conclude that mobile phone usage across low-income households shows that a social revolution is underway in the Caribbean; the flexibility and versatility of the cellular phone are the features most appreciated. With regard to computers, while usage is institutionalised, ubiquitous and fairly widespread in the country,1 the low levels of ownership and Internet access remain issues to overcome.2 In his preliminary study of Internet use among young people in the Kingston Metropolitan area, Kelly (2007) found that search engines were the main sites visited, with entertainment and social networking sites falling second and third respectively.3 In 2010, however, as regards social media, Facebook was the popular medium of choice.4 From personal observation, it appears to serve different purposes depending on the group. Networking (alumni associations, relatives, friends) is the most prevalent use by individuals but companies have now adopted its use for promotional purposes,5 and this over other similar media such as MySpace. Horst and Miller (2006, p. 14) cite Thomas-Hope (1992) who stated that newspaper 1

There were 1,581,100 computer users as of June 2010, 55.5% penetration rate according to the ITU. The population stood at 2,699, 617 in 2009, according to, citing the World Bank. 2 According to Kelly (2007, p. 2), ‘In 2006 13.7 per cent of households in Jamaica reported having a computer. Of those households having computers, 44.6 per cent reported having an [I]nternet connection.’ 3 Kelly, 2007, p. 5. 4 363,380 Facebook users on August 31 2010; 12.8% penetration rate, according to 5 For example, see ‘Digicel gains 100,000 Facebook fans in under 100 days’,; see also, on the use of Twitter by businesses. 1

readership in Jamaica was restricted by low literacy levels to upper and middle class Jamaicans. It has been a common saying over the years that, ‘Jamaicans do not read.’ However, my observation from working for 10 years at the National Library of Jamaica is that newspapers were read; people may have lacked the money to purchase them. In such an environment, where computers are widespread, mobile technology is ubiquitous but reading is said to have low priority; social media use is on the upturn and people are alert to the topical issues of the day, how have the major newspapers seen fit to construct digital culture? This paper explores the two daily Jamaican newspapers’ construction of digital culture through one week’s close examination of both digital and analog versions of the same newspapers, backed by observation of the same newspapers over the previous three weeks. Is the construction any different in this country? Deuze’s (2001) three characteristics of online journalism will be used for the discussion. Defining Digital Culture Tredinnick (2008) traces the development of Western thought on culture. He explores the difficulty and complexity of defining culture, showing the paradoxes involved and the elusiveness of settling on a definition; he offers no definition of his own but identifies the characteristics of culture. He cites Williams’ (1983) three definitions of culture, which viewed it as the general process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development; a particular way of life, of either a people, a period, a group or humanity in general; and the works and practices of intellectual and artistic activity (in Tredinnick, 2008, p. 16). In his discussion, Tredinnick notes that Williams’ ideas coincide in some respects with Unesco’s definition of culture, which encompasses social relations within a social system, idea systems that mediate social practices and social relations, and the material products of social and cultural practices. He also notes the reach of the definitions across social levels, and social formations and groupings (p. 16). He concludes that the idea of culture has: a mythopoeic function, its implication in mythical formulations that give meaning to our social situation. By remaining beyond final articulation and subject to reinterpretation, culture provides a mechanism for assimilating diverse aspects of experience without reconciling their contradictions, an empty vessel into which to pour disparate ideas, values, anxieties and struggles. It becomes a lens for our social situation, distilling and refracting our experiences ... It shapes itself to different narratives of social and cultural change, concealing tacit assumptions and values but generously adapting to new ways of life. And it extends the discourse within which it is deployed, implying both shared values and shared meaning systems that resist analysis and reach out beyond the pages to stories of social change. (p. 18) Tredinnick’s discussion of culture, perhaps because of its lack of a final definition, indeed provides the space within which to examine culture as it has evolved as a result of the convergence of various technologies and media through digitalisation (or digitisation), into what we commonly know as digital culture. Küng, Picard and Towse (2008) see digitalisation as an enabler of convergence, the ‘technologically driven fusing of the content (that is, media), computing (information technology) and communications


(telecoms and broadband distribution) industries’ (p. 4). Digitalisation is the mathematical reduction into binary form of information: Once information is digitised, new possibilities for new products and services result. Different forms of information ... can be combined to produce new multimedia products. When combined with the Internet, such complex information products can be compressed, stored, transmitted ... irrespective of physical distance (p. 3). The combination of the Internet with digitised information makes updating of content, presenting additional materials and interacting with readers easier (p. 62). A description of digital culture, then, must involve the social interactions and actions enabled by the affordances of digital technology. Beer (2005) ponders what constitutes digital culture, describing a fluid interchange between digital technologies and life, echoing Baudrillard (1983) and Boczkowski (1999), to show how digital technology has permeated everyday life. While he offers no definition of digital culture, he states that ‘everyday digital practices must be recaptured and represented’ for digitisation to be understood (p. 2). He supports Poster’s call to resist the temptation to ‘create a duality or a human non-human divide’ (p. 3). Also raised by Beer is the issue of ownership, which becomes problematic as a result of the possibilities allowed by digital technologies. Reproduction is made easier, thus making what is original and what is real disappear (p. 3). He also notes that commodity exchange can take place on the Internet without the need to produce an object. This therefore challenges the notion of ownership. Noreen Dunnett’s (2010) blogpost on the course E-Learning and Digital Culture also spotlights the everyday, as she states that: … many people’s everyday lives have become unthinkable without the extended social world or culture of the [I]nternet. Communication is crucial to culture and many, if not most of the ways we communicate are electronic – our mobile phones, email, social networking, news and so on.’ She further asks, ‘What processes do we go through digitally, to produce meanings and is our social experience different in the digital environment? Digital culture is seen to be just as difficult to assign a definition as culture. What is certain is that it pervades daily life in the Western world and involves the mediation of digital technology. It is also clear that the changes in almost every sphere of life have had an impact on us individually, nationally, regionally and globally, diminishing the importance of distance and time. Online newspapers may therefore be seen to play a role in constructing digital culture based on the traditional functions of newspapers and the affordances of digital technology.

Newspapers online


Deuze (2001) posits the view that by 2001, the time of writing his article, online journalism had been around for a decade; his article is useful for its description of kinds of online journalisms, their value and possible strategies for online news media ventures (p. 1). He discusses four kinds of online journalism – mainstream and news sites, index and category sites, meta and comment sites and share and discussion sites (pp. 3-4) stating that they all reflect the characteristics of the networked computer environment in which they operate – hypertextuality, multimediality and interactivity (p. 4). He describes the decision-making process of the online journalist thus: The online journalist has to make decisions on which media formats best tell a certain story (multimediality), has to allow room for options for the public to respond, interact or even customize certain stories (interactivity) and must consider ways to connect the story to other stories, archives, resources and so on through hyperlinks (hypertextuality) (p. 2). Contrary to Deuze’s (2001) belief that online news is a recent phenomenon, associated with the rise of the World Wide Web, Nguyen (2007) traces the development of online news to over 160 years of evolution of social forms, seeing web news as the latest and most advanced form; she therefore assigns a broader interpretation to word ‘online’. She defines consumer online news services as ‘a set of news services distributed directly to a consuming public via point-to-point communication networks’. The services, she says, have been delivered ‘”on the line” – i.e. over hardwire-connected telecommunication networks such as the telegraph and the telephone – but have also been made available in wireless communication environments in recent years’ (p. 5). Nguyen sees the history of online news as a history of efforts to take advantage of point-to-point communication networks to directly deliver news to end-users. This perspective highlights the preeminence of distribution in the operation of news media organisations in their quest to ‘conquer time and space in communication’, which she sees as a ’central element in the development of human societies of all times and places’ (p. 6). Nguyen does not dwell specifically on the newspaper as a medium of distribution of news. She cites the example of ‘telegraph reporters’ who were not affiliated to a specific newspaper but who provided news to both the press and anyone else who required news such as commercial businesses. This she describes as ‘on-demand multicasting services’ (p. 6). Boczkowski (1999) argues that there are at least four issues that the social study of computer-mediated communication (CMC) have elucidated and which have figured in the development of online newspapers, ‘thus contributing to the analysis of the electronic version of a medium which has traditionally been the almost exclusive province of mass communication theorizing’ (p. 102). He names these issues as (1) the social consequences of increased anonymity of interlocutors, also highlighted by Poster (2006); (2) the reconfiguration of territorially- and interest-based associations; (3) the processes that mediate between the introduction of new artifacts and their social outcomes; and (4) the mutual shaping of consumer and technologies (p. 102). D’Haenens, Jankowski and Heuvelman (2004) examine the differences in consumption and recall of news presented through online newspapers as compared with that made


available in printed newspapers. Online and print versions of two Dutch newspapers were studied to discover (1) the extent of differences in the number of news stories published in both versions; (2) the extent of differences evident in reading behaviour; and (3) the extent to which differences in the ability of readers to recall news items in both versions are evident (p. 364). The researchers found that more news stories appeared in the print versions of the newspapers than the online versions. In the case of national news, there was a significant difference between the percentage of stories provided in the two versions. As regards the second question, there were different consumption patterns evident between both newspapers. For question three, the researchers found that readers recalled national news more frequently than news from other categories, for both print and online newspapers. They also found that female readers recalled more national news stories than males (pp. 377-379). From the design perspective, De Vries (2008) looks at newspaper design as cultural change. He discusses print newspaper design using the case of newspaper makeovers accomplished by his own design company. Some of the ideas he expresses are relevant to online newspaper design. He foregrounds the importance of the visual in Western society (see also Rose, 2007), although noting that words remain crucial. He also notes that an editorial product is a visual product, making visual presentation and the notion of telling stories in multiple ways to appeal to multiple types of readers, key (p. 7). He describes and illustrates the design processes under three headings: the technical and typographic, the editorial or device and component ideas, and the systems thinking, which allows for renewal of processes and optimisation of design (p. 7). De Vries sees the designer as a cultural interpreter, ensuring that elements such as colour, layout and reading differences are considered in design. He states that ‘designers have to understand the audiences they are designing for, and create visual expressions that work for those audiences…’ p. 24). He notes the influence of the Web on newsrooms in their structure as well as in the positioning of web stories; these are published first with the interpretation of the story following in the print edition (p. 25). This approach, however, may not be a universal approach. Nerone and Barnhurst’s (2001) study of the design of online newspapers in the United Sates of America examines the features of online newspapers and the positioning of content as well as the differences brought to newspapers by the Web. In 2001, they saw newspapers as entering: … a period of visual change that may be directionless. With its underpinnings in postmodern ennui, the new visual form of news has no sense of history and seems to require no justification. The end game of modernism, as it expands beyond American borders and confronts a borderless world of interactive computer networks, suggests the unraveling of the newspaper map (p. 481). The authors do not set out a thesis; nevertheless the article is useful for its detailed description of the appearance and features of the newspapers as well as for setting the developments in online journalism in a post-modern context (see also Rose, 2007), which offers a cultural framework.


Knox (2007) discusses the interconnection between the visual and the verbal in online newspapers, advancing the thesis that this environment has generated its own type of text or news genre, the newsbite, as a result of the atomising of news stories. Readers of online newspapers are free to determine what they read and when they read it, choosing their own reading path, via links (pp. 47, 48; also D’Haenens, Jankowski and Heuvelman, 2004). The perspectives offered in the literature reviewed allow for a deeper understanding of the underpinnings of online journalism and thus enables comparisons between the two newspapers in their two formats. Jamaican newspapers – digital and analog Over the period 12 December to 18 December 2010, I examined the two daily newspapers that appear in Jamaica, in their analog and digital formats. I sought to discern similarities and differences in their approaches to design, to content, interactivity and hypertextuality, as well as multimodality (Knox, 2007). In addition, I sought to detect if space, time, class and status (which are significant markers in Jamaican society), are reflected in these versions of the newspapers, and if so, in what ways. The Daily Gleaner, Jamaica’s oldest newspaper, started in 1834 (; ( The online version was launched on February 16, 1997 and offers local and international content.6 The Jamaica Observer’s first edition appeared in print on March 7, 1993 ( The online version started in 2001 and was revamped in 2009. The online version however does not carry the full contents of the printed version; to date, only local news is carried.7 An e-paper is also available by subscription; this is an exact copy (pdf) of the analog version ( Design of the newspapers The convergence facilitated by digitisation is evident in the two newspapers explored, in the range of media applied and in page design. Figures 1 and 2 are snapshots of the main or home page of each online newspaper while Appendix 1 illustrates the layout of the main/home page of each of the newspapers. The home page of an online newspaper directs the reader to through the links and information it provides; establishes the authority of the voice of the newspaper as well as ‘communality’ among the authors and readers of the newspaper. At the same time, according to Nerone and Barnhurst (2001, p. 471), ‘Web design flattens the steep hierarchy of the modern front page. Top stories do not look so top any more.’ Nonetheless, the news presented is that valued by the authors of the newspaper with regard to importance (Knox, 20076, p. 23). As described by Knox, section pages are also 6

Personal communication from the Library, The Gleaner Company Ltd., 10 January 2011. Personal communication, Kevin Wainwright, IT Manager of the Jamaica Observer Ltd., 10 January 2011. 7


present, separating content according to headings such as Sports, Business, Commentary and Features, and available also through the horizontal menu bar. Knox also notes that home pages and section pages provide links to story pages, which reveal the text of only one story, in verbal-visual format similar to traditional newspaper pages, or in auralvisual format including sound or video clips (p. 23). Both the Gleaner and the Observer adhere to the format described by Knox in relation to their layout. Similar features are included in both newspapers, differing in positioning for the most part. An interesting difference between the newspapers is the absence of a dominant lead story in the Observer, favouring instead a spotlight of three articles in its main content teaser.8 The menu does not present Lead Stories, as does the Gleaner’s, going directly to News. In this regards, the online version of the Observer differs from its print version, which carries a single lead story and sometimes one other story on its front page. This suggests that the Observer has flattened the hierarchy more than the Gleaner, allowing readers to decide which of three stories is more significant. Links to social media and RSS feeds, as well as mobile, Facebook and Twitter accounts, are prominent at the top of each home page.

Figure 1: Front page, The Gleaner, Tuesday, 21 December 2010


I wish to thank Mr Richard Barth, Web Administrator of the Open Campus, UWI, for his assistance in describing the sections of the online newspapers. 7

Figure 2: Front page, Jamaica Observer, Tuesday, 21 December 2010 Content: Interactivity As regards content, both online newspapers repackage the content of their print versions, capitalizing on the immediacy offered by the web to provide up to date news in a Latest News link in the case of the Gleaner, which supercedes the Lead story, and which is time-stamped. The Observer presents latest news in a link below its secondary menu bar, also time-stamped. Digital technology has enabled a significantly greater amount of interaction than the analog technology as regards commentary in both online newspapers. The availability of the online version of the newspapers has made this strikingly obvious, and highlights the limited number of opinions that were previously read in a medium that has purported to foster public discourse. Opinions, then, were being shaped based on very restricted perspectives. In this regard, opinions are obviously now drawn from a wider cross-section of persons, coming as they do from Jamaicans in the Diaspora in addition to persons in Jamaica, and non-Jamaican with an interest in specific topics such as the death penalty and crime. To moderate or not to moderate? While moderating comments posted on its website, the Observer states that, ‘The objective of the interactive feature is to encourage users to exercise their right to freedom of expression in a cordial and respectful environment therefore we discourage forms of abuse meted out to our users and staff’ ( The Gleaner also moderates comments made on stories. Nevertheless, some comments posted, especially in the Observer, appear to be abusive. This is aided by the anonymity afforded by the use of pseudonyms, although not all persons use them, supporting Boczkowski’s (1999, p. 104) observation that computer-mediated communication (CMC) plays an important role in character of audience-generated content. One article in the Gleaner that elicited 33 comments in the week reviewed for this paper was titled ‘Are You Being Served?’, a 8

report on the use of geoinformatics to analyse the distribution of crime in relation to the distribution of police stations ( One comment (posted by Tvf) read: I am saddened to be reading this mediocre rubbish as an indepth analysis! This is common knowledge and can be solved without wasting money on some "study". The bottomline is that the force is filled with lazy, selfish, incompetent officers from top to bottom. Their only goal is to kill..kill...kill,...It was never about proper infrastructure to help the citizens of Jamaica. The Police force itself is a part of the destruction of Jamaica. The entire system needs to be re-implemented with strict guidelines and penalties for officers who handle situations wrongfully[.]

Platnum3 replied: TVF u have a serious problem, if u have nothing better to say just shut up, it is people like u have the island going back ,ur the selfish one ,ur a non entity,just shut UP!!!....

On the same day, the Observer carried a story titled ‘I want to see my children grow up – Says wanted man “Dog Paw”’ ( Readers’ comments ranged from reasoned to jeering: Steve Allen responded: He should be given the choice to turn his life around, a lot of hardcore criminals have turned their lives around and are now helping other young men not to get involved in badness. Life is sweet , when you do have children, your main wish is to see them grow up and do well in life.

Brooklyn Jamaican asked: So one decent good young boy Police just pick on him so? [Implying disbelief in ‘Dog Paw’s’ professed innocence.]

Christopher Isaacs jeered: Oh god!1 poor little innocent, soft spoken, broke and family man dawg paw and the wicked police telling lies on him. I forgot the explanation given for the Dawg Paw Gang, I would imagine that that must be a figment of the law enforcers imagination. Is there such a gang dawg paw?. Do you have a gun Dawg Paw? had you owned one dawg? How could the police be so wrong about you? Do you want the assistance of JFJ [Jamaicans For Justice]. I just feel like the police dont like you for some reason, pity you dont know why.

D. Blackguy responded, also jeeringly: Mr. Paw...see if you can borrow a ting [money] from the family and secure a good attorney. Don't make these police officers have to come for you. Don't fire anything at them, not even yuh gun finga [finger], since you don't own a gun. Did you see the report on Friday about the police in a shoot out with six gunmen, four injured and transported by the same police to hospital? All four were pronounced dead on arrival. Get your attorney, leave the Rev. [Al Miller] out of this one.

In the week under review, the WikiLeaks story was prominent internationally. This was reflected in both versions of the newspapers, with comments online in the Observer on 15 December numbering 31; on 16 December, the day after, the analog version of that newspaper carried five letters to the editor, none of them related to Wikileaks, although the lead story of the print version on 15 December was the story, ‘Cuba Blasts US: Dismisses WikiLeaks cables as Manipulative and evil’ (p. 1). The Gleaner’s editorial of 9

16 December discussed the WikiLeaks matter but there were no letters to the editor on it among the five letters for that day, while 130 comments were posted online related to this article. Of the five letters on the following day, 17 December, none was about WikiLeaks. This suggests a difference between what is valued in the analog and digital newspapers, possibly based on perceptions of audience difference by the newspaper and based on its perception of the readers. These comments reveal much about Jamaican society: feelings towards the police, expectations occasioned by exposure to first-world lifestyles, language (of those in Jamaica as against those living overseas, use of the vernacular, grammar), class and status are evidenced in these responses, which would not be revealed in printed newspapers for several reasons: there would not be the space, nor the tolerance from readers of the printed newspapers, most of whom remain in the middle bracket as noted by ThomasHope (1992, in Horst and Miller, 2006) for such language and such strong sentiments. The editorial pages of the analog versions of both newspapers for the same day were also examined. In the case of the Observer there were three letters to the editor, the extent of the feedback in that day’s newspaper. None bore direct relation to any article published in that day’s newspaper although the issues raised were topical (removal of the army base at Up Park Camp, corruption in relation to parking lots in downtown Kingston, allegations of political affiliation of another newspaper). In the case of the Gleaner, no letters to the editor were carried on that day, possibly because this was a Sunday. Time and space have therefore diminished in significance in the digital versions while they remain evident in the analog ones. The Gleaner, apparently in an effort to expose readers of its analog version to a wider range of comments, includes ‘edited excerpts’ from its online newspaper comments in its editorial pages in a column called ‘Online Feedback’. On 13 December 2010, therefore, three edited comments on the lead story ‘Are You Being Served?’ of the previous day were included.9 However, I have observed that these comments never include the more strident or insulting comments, which only have a life online in response to other readers. Blogs also provide another dimension to interactive possibilities in both newspapers. The Gleaner’s ‘Have Your Say blog’ presents brief articles on topical issues and invites comments from the readership on these articles. Blog posts do not change daily; topics are available over a period of time for comment ( p=854). The Observer started its blog on 19 December 2007 ( My observation is that both blogs are not very interactive. Polls Both online papers run weekly opinion polls, a form of interaction, results of which are made available the following week. This may also a means of measuring readership as those interested in particular issues might be inclined to respond. Poll questions revolve around topical issues. 9

The Gleaner, Online Feedback. Opinion and Commentary section, 13 December 2010, page A9. 10

Hyperlinking Hyperlinking is not a feature of the Observer’s digital edition. The Gleaner, however, uses this feature although its usefulness in a local context is doubtful as links lead to foreign websites. Deuze (2001) is critical of the use of hyperlinks by newspapers, taking the view that they do not maximise its potential, though citing possible copyright and ownership issues if links point externally. There are internal links to related stories on the Gleaner’s site, although the relationship is sometimes not clear. Multimedia Both online newspapers feature audio, video and photograph presentations on their home pages. In both newspapers, these presentations are not updated daily. Presentations surround matters of interest to Jamaicans for the most part. Cartoons Cartons from the daily analog editions are reproduced in online editions in both newspapers. In the case of the Observer, by clicking on a link, previous editorial cartoons are available. Up to recently, one week’s cartoons was available. Now, two weeks’ cartoons are available ( Advertisements The most striking quality of online newspapers is the dominance of promotion. Ads include a banner across the top, many others forming a chimney down one side of the page, and several more across the bottom on most sites. The advertising … commonly overwhelms the other content. The ads come up first, blink, move, run ticker-style text, and employ intense colors and dramatic images. (Nerone and Barnhurst, 2001, p. 470) Advertisements on the Gleaner’s online site reflect the findings of Nerone and Barnhurst (2001), running across the top of the page and down one side. On clicking the link to an article, additional ads are revealed on secondary pages. In the case of the Gleaner, ads promote a range of products, mainly financial services, insurance, remittance services, real estate and degree and other educational programmes. Clicking on an ad takes you to the website of the business in question, or in the case of some educational institutions, an application form. In December, more noticeably in the Gleaner, advertisements appeared to target Jamaicans home for the festive season as they tantalised with offers of real estate for sale; for those who could not make it home, ads from remittance services suggested easy ways of sending money to relatives. The Observer patterns this design for its advertisements also, although there are fewer ads visible on the site and spaces being offered for advertising products. Analog versions of both newspapers carry much more advertisements than digital versions. The reason for this is not clear and I have not been able to locate information on this. It may be related to the cost of online ads as well as attitudes of advertisers to online advertising, uncertainty of its reach or the high cost of advertising in two editions of the


same newspaper. The range of advertisements in the printed newspapers is wider, including jewellery stores, furniture, office supply and stationery stores, hardware stores and mobile telephone service providers, food and grocery stores, and entertainmentrelated businesses. Many printed ads also have a more local flavour, seemingly suggesting that the market for them is a local one as distinct from the international reach of the digital newspapers and the ads included there. Archives Digital technology has also made it possible and easier to conduct research using the newspapers as the Gleaner Archives, for example, is available online from Newspaper Archive, an online newspaper archival service ( Prereproduction era editions (since 1834) have been digitised and these are available by subscription to this service. Such a service is not available for the Observer.

Representations of digital culture in analog newspapers In examining the daily analog newspapers, it was clear that digital technology and the newspapers’ online presence has influenced the analog versions and the converse is also true. There has been a noticeable relaxing in advertising layout in analog versions, thus causing the printed newspapers to appear more crowded and chaotic, an obvious reflection of the digital versions. At the same time, digital newspapers in Jamaica have not veered far away from their analog relatives in content. Influenced by digital culture and technology, writers of newspaper articles in both printed newspapers include email addresses of story-writers, which may be seen as a direct connection to online technology and a move to continue discussions and responses on stories. This may also assist journalists in obtaining other sources of information. Despite this, however, the digital versions appear to operate independently in forging digital culture, and developments seem to be taking place without much discussion with the readership on their preferences. Concluding Remarks Collectively-shared information is considered to be essential for public discourse and for citizen participation in a democratic society (D’Haenens, Jankowski and Heuvelman, 2004, p. 364). Newspapers have contributed to this process over the centuries of their existence and this fundamental assumption appears not to have changed. In their construction of digital culture, the Jamaican daily newspapers have developed along parallel lines to international ones, utilising the standards set externally. They have


facilitated additional voices being heard in the process of opinion-sharing and idea formulation, allowing Jamaicans overseas (particularly those in North America and the UK) to contribute to this process. This is the main area in which they are able to contribute, as this is an area with which they would be familiar, living in more advanced countries. Digital culture has also influenced the design of the analog newspapers, but opinion-sharing has not been obviously affected in these versions. It is in the comments also that elements of class and status differences are evident through language and writing differences in the online spaces, the anonymity allowed by the digital technology having emboldened some writers, thus enriching idea-generation. This specific feature of the online newspapers begs for further study.


References Beer, D. (2005). Sooner or later we will melt together: framing the digital in the everyday. First Monday 10(8): 1 August. Retrieved: 14 December 2010. Boczkowski, P. (1999). Understanding the development of online newspapers: using computer-mediated communication theorizing to study Internet publishing. New Media & Society 1(1): pp. 101-126. Retrieved: 15 December 2010. Cell phone usage worldwide, by country. Retrieved: 11 January 2011. Cuba blasts US: dismisses WikiLeaks cables as manipulative and evil. (2010). Daily Observer. p. 1. d’Haenens, L., Jankowski, N. and Heuvelman, A. (2004). News in online and print newspapers: differences in reader consumption and recall. News Media & Society 6(3): pp. 363-382. Retrieved: 15 December 2010. De Vries, J. (2008). Newspaper design as cultural change. Visual Communication 7(1): pp. 5-25. Retrieved: 15 December 2010. Deuze, M. (2001). Online journalism: modelling the first generation of news media on the World Wide Web. First Monday 6(10): 1 October. Retrieved: 14 December 2010. Dunn, H. and Dunn, L. (2007). Genderstanding mobile telephony. Women, men and their use of the cellular phones in the Caribbean. Prepared for GK3 in association with the DIRSI Project: Mobile Opportunities – Poverty and Telephony Access in Latin America and the Caribbean. (Kingston, Jamaica). Retrieved: 11 January 2011. Dunnett, N. (2010). What is digital culture? blogost 13 September. Retrieved: 11 January 2011. Horst, H. and Miller, D. (2006). The cell phone: an anthropology of communication. (New York and Oxford, Berg). Jamaica Information Service. Jamaica Observer e-paper, the. (n.d.). E-paper service level agreement. Retrieved: 11 January 2011. Jamaica Observer newspaper: a brief background. (n.d.). Retrieved: 11 January 2011. Kelly, R. (2007). Internet use among young people in the Kingston Metropolitan Area. (Kingston, Planning Institute of Jamaica). Retrieved: 15 January 2011. 14 Knox, J. (2007). Visual-verbal communication on online newspaper home pages. Visual Communication 6: pp. 19-53. Retrieved 15 December 2010. K端ng, L., Picard, R. and Towse, R. (Eds). (2008). The Internet and the mass media. (Los Angeles, Sage). Nerone, J. and Barnhurst, K. (2001). Beyond modernism: digital design, Americanization and the future of newspaper form. New Media & Society 3(4): pp. 467-482. Retrieved: 15 December 2010. Nguyen, A. (2007). The interaction between technologies and society: lessons learnt from 160 evolutionary years of online news services. First Monday 12(3): 5 March. Retrieved: 14 December 2010. Observer blog launched. (2007). Jamaica Observer. 19 December. Retrieved 18 January 2010. ( Poster, M. (2006). The good, the bad and the virtual. Information please: culture and politics in the age of digital machines. (Durham, North Carolina, London, Duke University Press). pp. 139-160. Reid, T. (2010). Are You Being Served? Sunday Gleaner, 12 December 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2011. Rose, G. (2007). Visual methodologies: an introduction to the interpretation of visual materials. (London, Sage). Sheil, R. (2010). Online social networks and Jamaican businesses: local companies, individuals adapting to social networks such as Twitter. Jamaica Observer, 17 September. Retrieved: 15 January 2011. Story of the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, The. (n.d.). Retrieved 11 January 2010. Transport Authority officer arrested after accepting bribe. (2010). HaveYourSayblog. The Gleaner. 17 January. Treddinick, L. (2008). Digital information culture: the individual and society in the digital age. (Oxford, Chandos Publishing).


Appendix 1: Layout of the Gleaner’s home page


Appendix 1B: Layout of the Observer’s home page


EDC Final assignment  

A discussion on how digital culture is constructed in two newspapers.

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