One of the great advantages of online publications over their paper-based counterparts is their speed. Stories online can be published and updated immediately when something happens.
Yet this theoretical immediacy of online news is
“a myth, because it reflects only the beliefs of researchers, journalists and users, [and it] ignores the fact that institutional practices govern the news production activity of news websites.”
So says a recent paper by Jeongsub Lim. He studied South Korean websites and came to the conclusion that, for the large part, immediacy largely remains a theoretical possibility for news sites, even when covering current events providing a stable and constant flow of news (e.g. the football world cup).
I think Lim’s point that immediacy presupposes, among other things, a readership that demands it in the first place, is an especially good one, and one that’s easy to forget.
Lim, Jeongsub (2012): The Mythological Status of the Immediacy of the Most Important Online News, in Journalism Studies 13(1), 71-89.