Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Stovall Revisited

Further Highlights from James Glen Stovall's book Journalism on the Web

Chapter 5: Writing is the focus of all forms of journalism, including what is found on the web. Stovall urges journalists to write clearly, precisely, accurately and efficiently in order to be successful at writing for any journalistic medium.

Many of the traditional elements of print based media, can be utilized in presenting news online. Newspapers use sub heads, labels, summaries, and lead paragraphs successfully, which can be translated into similar uses online. However, when newspapers believe that no changes are needed in placing materials online that they can run into presentation and content problems.

For a news site to be successful it cannot only report the same news found in the newspaper. It needs to have more information, new stories, and be updated more often than a traditional paper. While newspapers are hampered by deadlines, there are no deadlines for online publications. Therefore, during breaking news stories, online publications are under more pressure to update and report news as quickly and as accurately as possible.

Chapter Six: Editors should make sure that journalists use fresh, but analytical language, interesting enough to draw the reader into the story without being offensive or distasteful.

The preservation of a website is more difficult than maintaining traditional newspaper archives. Links must remain current, archives must be kept up to date and remain available through the site.

The main site must also be constantly updated with new information that is balanced with a united style of presentation and design in order for the viewer to find consistency on a site.

Chapter Ten: While many websites feature a visual display designed to draw the eye, the news must remain a main concern. On certain occassions, it may be necessary to remove these design elements to allow more people to view the site during a breaking news' story.

Web designers should know how to engage the viewer using a balance of visual logic, creating balance, simplicity and variety.

A website should have a specific and understandable purpose. Without one, a site cannot be utilized to its full potential.

Chapter Eleven: Web journalism's interactivity allows editors to track how popular a story is, online. Web pages, in general, keep track of what people are doing online. This provides valuable information into the interests of the public.

A question that is central to Stovall's book is 'Will this technology encourage journalists to tell the audience what they need to know or give them only what they want?'

Should information on the web be free? As the web first entered into picture and up to its current point, many news sites that are not developed from a parent company, have failed to make a profit. However, in the future many sites may charge for utilizing their information if the internet evenually renders other forms of broadcast media obsolete.


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