Key to any understanding of online journalism is the nature of its readership, as in, the ‘hyperreaders,’ and this paper will argue that they are as important a consideration as the medium itself in that they play a part in how it operates and is disseminated. Key to this is an understanding of Reader Response theory, which argues that it is the reader who defines the meaning of a text, while conflicting political and methodological views on this process must also be taken into account. The paper will also argue that readers are increasingly blurring the difference between themselves and journalists, via blogging and the growing use by established media of images and testimony provided by members of the public. The paper will then conclude that it is this presently unusual relationship between readers and journalists, undermining the traditional hierarchy of news production and consumption, which defines hypernews.
The Journal of Electronic Publishing Vol 13 Issue 3, 2010-12-01