July 1997

Root Page of Article: Interviewing and Information in a Digital Age, by I-chin Chang

Let Your Fingers Do the Talking

Email is the most commonly used communication service in the Internet. Many net surfers start with using email, an accessible tool to communicate and to get comfortable with the Internet. Anyone who has basic word processor skill can send messages to family members and friends via the online postal service. For reporters, email can easily build up an information network for journalistic use, such as communicating online with other journalists and experts.

Reporters use email messages in a variety of ways. A reporter can send email either to a mailbox or a list of mailboxes. The first use is one-to-one asynchronous communication. The second use is many-to-many asynchronous communication, and includes other forums such as Usenet, electronic bulletin boards, and Listservers that require the receiver to sign up for a service or log on to a program to access messages about a particular topic or topics. email helps reporters quickly contact people in the know, especially the governmental officials who email addresses are documented; Listserv provides advice from fellow journalists; and Usenet, a worldwide electronic public message service on specific topics, is another aid from people with various interests. For deadline-driven journalists, email certainly save time and legwork and help reporters reach out to different communities. Therefore, email has become a means to get information. --

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