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The characteristics of online news presentation offer a unique opportunity for journalists to strengthen their ability to fulfill their Fourth Estate role. In this project, traditional theories of journalism, democracy and political communication are blended with emerging theories of online communication to create a coverage blueprint or framework for online journalism. The goal is to develop and evaluate a set of normative “best practices” that online newspapers can use to help them more effectively perform their role of connecting the governors to the governed and assisting in the formation of public opinion that has an impact on public policy. The current implementation of the practices in this framework is investigated with a case study of one site where many of the practices from the framework are in use, which demonstrates that the practices can be effectively implemented in a realistic situation to improve political communication.


Presentation at the Association of Internet Researchers Conference, October 2005, Chicago, IL.

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