Catching up with a crushing load of unanswered email, I wrote this in response to a query from a grad student who asked about contextualized journalism:
The unfortunate reality is that most of us who had the resources to take advantage of that opportunity have squandered it. Most of the journalism as practiced on the Internet fails to to take advantage of any of those capabilities. The writing is not significantly different from what you might have seen in 1955 -- plain text, little use of media assets. Linking is rare. Incremental developments are not placed in context. What little "audience involvement" exists is limited to story comments left by angry, anonymous extremists. There is little actual interaction between journalist and audience, or with news sources.
I am very concerned that people are detaching themselves from the civic conversation, attracted away by bright shiny entertainment, driven away by poor reporting.
News is a continuing story, Developments do not make sense without backstory, without context. We are not, in general, providing that context. How did we get here? What does this mean?
This is not a technology problem. It's entirely a problem with our performance as journalists. Technology gives us tools. I have, in my pocket, computing power that was unheard-of two decades ago, the equivalent of a TV studio, and a live connection to a global network. How do I use that to the advantage of people in my community? That is the question. Our answers, to date, are disappointing.