Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ben Huh seeks to reinvent global news

One of my alerts this morning brought news of Ben Huh, a Korean educated in journalism at Northwestern and an internet entrepreneur who seeks to reinvent the news for the age of mobile broadband networks.  The Ad Age Digital article led me to read more about his efforts.  I've been interested in how communication technology affects the news for a long time, at least since my doctoral dissertation and first book, Television's Window on the World, which examined how communication satellites and electronic newsgathering were shaping patterns of newsgathering and dissemination in the 1970s.  The advent of the internet and the spread of mobile digital networks have made the interaction between technology and the news even more interesting.
I'm going to look further into Ben Huh's efforts through his new company, Circa news and will be discussing this with students in my undergraduate class at KAIST on "Introduction to Mass Communication."  It is of interest to me that Korea was one of the first countries to experiment with citizen journalism, in the form of OhmyNews, in part because of its extensive and fast digital networks. The class I teach already includes a presentation by Andrew Gruen who worked with and studied OhmyNews as part of his doctoral dissertation research at Cambridge University.  Andrew is focusing, among other things, on the issue of accountability.   With the explosion of video and other information made possible by the new mobile broadband networks, there is certainly going to be demand for services like Circa that edit, select and format news in a mobile format.  Time will tell whether Circa is an important part of the solution or not, but the issue it addresses is important and should be of concern to citizens everywhere.

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