From Chat to Interactives: The Evolution of the Digital Commons

thumbnailIn the past decade, newspapers in Brazil, France, and the United States have transformed their digital editions to facilitate reader participation and exchange. This research explores the growth of interactive venues created in response to 9/11/01 on O Estado de São Paulo, Le Monde, and The New York Times. Comparing the original “chat” communities on September 11th to the digital “interactives” generated for the ten-year anniversary, the project illuminates how flagship newspapers are redefining the role of audience participation and debate in the digital commons.


Laura Robinson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Santa Clara University. Her work examines new media in Brazil, France, and the United States. Robinson’s current multi-year study examines digital and informational inequalities. Other publications explore online interaction and norm building, national and collective identities, 9/11 and political violence, and cultural discourse in Brazilian, French, and American contexts. In addition to holding a postdoctoral fellowship at the USC Annenberg Center, Robinson has served as Visiting Assistant Professor at Cornell University and Visiting Scholar at Trinity College Dublin. Her research has earned awards from the American Sociological Association Computer and Information Technology Section, the Association of Internet Researchers, and the National Communication Association International and Intercultural Communication Division. Her website is laurarobinson.org.