Posts tagged ‘BASIC principles’
Part four of this five-part series looks at how interactivity forms the basis of true online journalism, and explores ways to think about interactivity in practice. This will form part of a forthcoming book on online journalism – comments very much invited.
In his 2001 book Online Journalism, Jim Hall argues that, in the age of the web, interactivity could be added to impartiality, objectivity and truth as a core value of journalism. It is that important.
Interactivity is central to how journalism has been changed by the arrival of the internet. Whereas the news industries of print, radio and TV placed control firmly in the hands of the publishers and journalists, online you try to control people at your peril.
It is important to remember that people use the web on devices – whether a computer, mobile phone or PDA – with cultural histories of usefulness or utility, very different to the cultural histories of television, radio or even print.
People go online to do something. Companies that help with that process tend to prosper online. Those that attempt to curtail users’ ability to do things with their content often find themselves on the end of a backlash.
News is, of course, a service. But up until now news organisations have been under the mistaken impression that it is a product. The web is reminding them otherwise.
What is interactivity?
Interactivity is not video, or ‘multimedia’; it is not flashy bells and whistles. At its core, it is about giving the user control. (more…)
In the first part of a five-part series, I explore how and why a talent for brevity is one of the basic skills an online journalist needs – whether writing an article or employing multimedia. This will form part of a forthcoming book on online journalism – comments very much invited.
It shouldn’t have to be said that the web is different, but I’ll say it anyway: the web is different. It is not print, it is not television, it is not radio.
So why write content for the web in the same way that you might write for a newspaper or a news broadcast?
Organisations used to do this, and some still do. It was called ‘shovelware’, a process by which content created for another medium (generally print) was ‘shovelled’ onto the web with nary a care for whether that was appropriate or not.
It was not.
People read websites very differently to how they read newspapers, watch television or listen to radio. For a start, they read 25% slower than they do with print – this is because computer screens have a much lower resolution than print: 72 dots in every square inch compared to around 150-300 in newspapers and magazines (this may change, but usage patterns are likely to stay the same for some time yet).
As a result, you need to communicate your story in less time than you would in print. You need to develop brevity. (more…)