Theory blog post: Online Journalism

Summerise the technical demands of online journalists

Journalism has become a very competitive industry and therefore to get a job in the industry an online journalist must be good at what they do. Due to the nature of online culture and how it is consumed online journalists constantly face rapid change.

Stories need to be relevant, interesting as well as shareable in order to continue to garner their audience’s attention and by extension expand it. This means having an online presence on social media and creating a personalised brand for themselves. Allowing stories to be shared through Twitter, Facebook and various other forms of social media, is integral to the success of a journalists career.

An online journalist is expected to create a lot more content than in previous iterations of journalism, multiple articles, video and/or audio content being expected to be created on a daily basis. This requires online journalists to need a much wider skill set that previously expected. Modern day journalists working online must have a broad understanding of written, video, audio, various forms of editing, layout and visual skills. A single online journalist is now expected to be capable of doing what would require multiple employees and to do it efficiently enough to compete with competition

Immediacy is arguably the most important part of being a successful online journalist. Being able to get your story out there before someone else can cover it allows you to generate the most online traffic allows for a build up of a good reputation and is a very desirably quality.

How and why is the industry changing?

Due to a increase in the prevalence of the technological industry and the increase in understanding and expanding usage of the internet, the print industry has had to adapt to these changes to remain relevant. News will never be something that becomes irrelevant, however, the way we consume this will constantly adapt in way to present itself in a efficient and relative way to make itself easily accessible to the average consumer.

Taking this into account it is not a surprise that the print and journalism industry has had to modify itself to the 21st century methodology of supplying information.

At its inception until the 90’s the industry was incredibly limited in terms of technology having to rely on typewriters, fax, basic word processing computers and printing presses as a way of distributing itself. Now a days everything is incredibly immediate; an article can be written and be published as soon as its finished online, then allowing that journalist to go on to create more content in various formats.

So much more can be accomplished in one day than prior to the new technology and the wide reach of the internet. Multiple articles can be written in a day by a single person along with video and radio pieces to accompany them and allows for links between stories to be hyperlinked seamlessly into a story.

In 2012 only 15% of people used their phones and tablets to access the news online, however by 2014 this increased to 73% as the mobile market expanded and smart phone usage increased drastically as affordability increased.

People always have their phones with them, and as technology has expanded this mobile form of consuming media has become much more popular, now dwarfing the physical print. This plays again into the idea of immediate on demand culture, people do not want to wait for new. They want it as it breaks not read about it the next day. It also means people can check the news where ever they are in seconds with no cost to them.

What is the impact of this?

The impact of this is that the print industry is beginning to die out in favour of online journalism. A good example of this is the independent becoming the first national UK news paper to go fully online. In doing this they are creating 25 new job roles however are losing 40 (in this case the employees will be reallocated rather than fired).

News is much more accessible now and this is reflected heavily in how it is now being presented online. A story will be written up and online minutes, sometimes even seconds after breaking and is a constant race between who will cover it first. This is a much different concept to when papers all produced content daily so often stories would be covered at the same time.

The way the average person consumes news has completely changed, televised news and radio news are still very prevalent but are now being adapted to an online format (for example radio shows now being available to view online and in podcast form).

In what ways are the roles and requirements of journalists not changing?

In many ways the idea of journalism is consistent despite its changing presentation and efficiency. Bill Kovach and Tom Rosensteil summerised the nine principles that apply to journalism that we should consider as digital technology and media grows and changes the industry.

Kovach and Rosensteil stated the primary focus of journalism has always been the pursuit of the truth, and presenting this to the public. This leads onto the second rule being that a journalists first loyalty should always be to the public. There is also the continued idea of verifying all the facts used and maintaining independence from those covered in stories – in order to remain reliable and neutral.

Journalism has to continue to serve to monitor power and be independent and through this also provide a way for the public to criticise and compromise. And as always journalism should strive to report events in an interesting and relevant format. The final principles of Kovach and Rosensteil were that new should be comprehensive and proportional and as a journalist you must exercise personal conscience.

Example

i100: http://indy100.independent.co.uk/article/all-the-words-people-use-to-refer-to-the-tv-remote-control–WyQRKNzPRg

The website layout of i100 is an excellent example of the modernised format of online articles. As seen in the linked article above, it positions itself in a very good position in the new online competition due to its easily shareable nature. This format completely reshapes how the news has been told due to how it orders the top 100 stories in order of relevance with amounts of shares and how new they are.

The articles all lead with a big bold headline with a shorty catchy title in order to gain the reader’s attention and follows this up with a large eye catching picture. There is always a prominent sense of sharing through an option to share via social media with Facebook, Twitter and various other sites icons under the headline. There is also the ability to upvote in order to help order relevance.

The initial line of every article below the picture is always in bold in order to continue to draw the attention of the reader and encourage further reading. The articles themselves are relative short and end with two links to other related articles to the story in order to generate more traffic to previous stories.

This article in question shows good examples of embedding of tweets to make the story more relative to the reader as well as showing public input to human a story and in this case allows for interaction by the reader due to humourous nature of the story.

Quotes are also in bold and highlighted with red quotation marks to again draw attention, in this case to add to the humour of the article itself.

Finally while not done in this article i100 does a very good job of linking outside sources into their articles seamlessly by using hyper links.

 

Reference list

Stewart, E. (2016)

All the words people use to refer to the TV remote control 

Available at: http://indy100.independent.co.uk/article/all-the-words-people-use-to-refer-to-the-tv-remote-control–WyQRKNzPRg [Accessed: 22nd February 2016]

 

(2016)

The independent becomes the first national newspaper to embrace a global, digital-only future

Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/the-independent-becomes-the-first-national-newspaper-to-embrace-a-global-digital-only-future-a6869736.html [Accessed 22nd February 2016]

 

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Theory blog post: Online Journalism

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