Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Stovall's Web Journalism


James Glen Stovall's book Web Journalism, Practice and Promise of a New Medium is helpful for people who want to learn about writing for the web. No longer are traditional print or broadcast media the only means of reporting the news. Web Journalism with all of its advantages and disadvantages have entered the foray of news reporting to the despair of some and the delight of others (Stovall pictured at left).

Some chapter highlights:
Chapter One
: The description of the game developed by Slate magazine as a reaction to the Enron scandal. The online board game contained pictures of Enron officials. When a viewer clicked on their pictures, who they were blaming for the fall of the company would pop up.

The connection of computer networks, the internet, developed in part from fears that the U.S. government held after WWII. Agencies feared that the current ability to distribute information could be compromised easily. It is due to the Advanced Research Project Agency (APRA) that protocol for email and other tools for the transfer of information was developed.

It is estimated that as of 2004, 75% of the United States population is using the Internet is some way. The internet combines visuals, words, pictures, video and graphics as well as audio in a capacity that allows for immediacy, flexibility, interactivity, and permanence.

Chapter Two: It is not easy for traditional news organizations to develop quality websites. Many tend to shovel content from its original print or broadcast medium without structuring them for the web. Others are not immediate with their updating, leading to sites that are not utilizing the full potential of the web.

Original Content sites are websites that use the web to a higher degree of potential. They structure stories that will be viewed best online. They work with appropriate software and often have an experienced staff devoted to reporting news on the web.

News websites have a greater chance of becoming popular if they are paired with a brand name of a respected print or broadcast news organization (i.e. the NYtimes.com)

(I also appreciate the Harry Potter analogy on p. 23)

Chapter Three:
Stovall suggests four ways for journalists to make their websites more user friendly and to increase interactivity: email; online polls; bulletin boards, forums and discussion groups; online chats with reporters or newsmakers.

Personalized web services offer websites a way to market specifically to target audiences. It illustrates the subtle shift to user rather than journalistic control of the news.

Journalism- even if it does not vanish completely in the future, it has been undoubtably changed due to the emergence of the Web as a strong force in reporting the news.

Chapter Four: The most successful websites are those that layer the information that they are distributing. Similar to traditional print and broadcast media, information needs to be divided and organized on websites. The web offers unique opportunities for journalists to structure information in both useful and creative ways.

The Web forces journalists to look beyond their usual audience and to write for an audience that is in fact world wide.

Web journalists need to be skilled in more areas than a traditional journalist. They are responsible for taking digital pictures, recording audio, learning software, and many other things that was not necessary for a print or broadcast reporter in the past.

1 Comments:

At 8:03 AM, Blogger james simon said...

Solid johb on chapters 1-4 in Stovall. Strive for more analytical comments

Subsequent chapters?

 

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