Information has never been as easily and quickly available as it is today. The airwaves are filled with all sorts of news which can be accessed at the touch of a button twenty-hours a day. This has provided a greater choice for the consumers. However, even just as we are getting used to it, more is on the way. Technological advances, like the digital television and the Internet, promise to take the quantity and speed of the news one stage further. These news services on the Internet offer consumers a new kind of choice.
Anyone who has access to the ÃÂnetÃÂ can now get up-to-date information from almost every part of the world. For example, an Internet subscriber cab receive the latest news from his favourite magazines delivered to him the moment there is an update. He does not have to wait for the next printed edition to find out about it.
Not only is the news almost instantaneous, an Internet user can also get his news from various sources. Today, an Internet Subscriber can read the ÃÂon-lineÃÂ version of a magazine as soon as it appears, sometimes even before the printed copy arrives.
The internet not only offers a new way to access traditional news providers, it has also produced its own, completely new kind of news service. These are special web-sites where users can find constantly updated news, in words, pictures and sound. Many of these websites have been developed by established news providers, like the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Cable News Network (CNN) and American News Company (ABC). They already have their own news-gathering operations, with correspondents all over the world. They also have access to vast databases of news and background information. All of these can be accessed free of charge, through their web-sites.
As a source of up-to-the minute news and information, the Internet can claim some impressive successes but it cannot guarantee the truth. While there are many reputable and reliable sources if information on the Internet, there are equally as many unreliable sources. Some are unsubstantiated news, while others are nothing more than the idle and at times malicious gossip. A reader will have to make use of his judgment and check other sources before accepting any news as being the truth. The anonymity offered by the Internet and the ease of publication on the Internet has given rise to a lot of individuals becoming ÃÂpublishersÃÂ offering unsolicited news. However, this does not mean that individuals have nothing to offer. For example, one of the first reports about the United States President Bill ClintonÃÂs affair with Monica Lewinsky, was posted in the Internet by an individual. The report was subsequently picked up by traditional news services. In fact, it is becoming increasingly common for the traditional news providers to report stories sourced from the Internet.
Despite its advantages, there are those who argue that the Internet is short on news reports which are about important events. Instead it is long on rumours and unsourced gossip. However, this has not deterred the major news providers who see the Internet as a vital way of reinforcing traditional news programming and at the same time building close links with their audiences. Similarly, we can also expect to see more and more publishers having both the traditional copy and an on-line version on the Internet. All these can only mean good news for the layman with a computer.