- As well as writing for MTV News, Stephen Totilo also recently completely a long, extremely thoughtful article on journalism in virtual worlds for the Columbia Journalism Review magazine, and of course, it's subtitled with the slightly provocative "Does journalism in a computer world matter?"

The basic lowdown: "In the early days, Second Life reporters were stars of an experimental online culture, the Web-based town criers of a place where every innovation—the first gun, the first hug, the first recreation of Hiroshima as it was minutes after the bomb—was worth writing about... In a second phase that began about a year ago, a new wave of reporters, representing big media outlets and with a somewhat different agenda from the pioneers, came in. They shined a spotlight, asked for real names, and were generally more interested in the phenomenon of Second Life—in the wow factor and the growing number of ways it mimicked real life—rather than the liberating possibilities of building a world from scratch."

The entire piece, which is well worth reading, concludes somewhere around here: "A lot of sensation has been happening in the virtual world lately. It’s a sensational place... The avatars may lie. They may offer valuable insights. The numbers may confuse. The controls that move the avatars through this world may confound. You’ve got to breathe it deeply to get it. And you’ve got to answer this question for yourself: In a brand-new world inextricably tied to, and simultaneously free of, the one we were born in, what truly matters?"