The Net provides an alternative channel for finding out what’s happening in Serbia
This column appeared in the June 1999 issue of The American Journalism Review.
By J.D. Lasica
Posted April 10, 1999
Within a week of the first NATO bomb dropping on Serbia, the conflict in Kosovo had been dubbed the first Internet war. While that overstates the case, it’s not far from the truth.
Night after night the network news has offered a narrow prism of views along with those ubiquitous aerial photos of NATO’s bombing campaign. The Internet, conversely, has provided an alternative channel that offered deeper coverage, more interactivity and, most significantly, greater diversity of voices and viewpoints.
Internet users have tapped into the war in a number of ways:
• Web news outlets such as MSNBC, CNN.com and ABCNews.com offered breaking news stories, comprehensive background material, and compelling photos, video and audio from both Serbia and the refugee camps along the Kosovo border, along with reader chats and bulletin boards.
• Yugoslav and ethnic Albanian journalists broadcast breaking news from the scene, as the Internet turned small local radio stations into global beacons of information.