When Internet service provider AOL announced it would acquire media conglomerate Time-Warner, Dave Pell, publisher of Davenetics, an online news service for Web professionals, crowed, “The people who still (even to this day) think the net is just about hype are wrong. The debate is over. We are lucky enough to have a front row seat at this revolution.”

Our culture is in the process of changing its whole definition of words like media and publishing. Commercial publishing giants now flow into new forms at dizzying speed. We hear a lot about a new “internet Darwinism”, with predictions that only...

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