News Online: Challenges

By | May 21, 2007

Online users, especially young people, don’t want to pay for information. They are used to getting it for free. But if that’s the case, how will the professionals who gather and produce this information be able to sustain themselves without a source of income?

Journalists have to be willing to work faster & smarter since the technology demands immediacy.

As “news” travels faster to a wider audience, so do potential errors.

Traditional news organizations face a ton of new competition, especially from niche websites, bloggers, and ‘citizen’ journalists.

Newspapers have been criticized for making their websites “dumping grounds” for content.

Just because you can publish a 100-inch story online with 50 photos, doesn’t mean you should.

Rather than be simply “on the web,” news organizations need to learn how to be “of the web.” Online content should be optimized so it is useful and valuable to the online audience – tailored for web delivery, not print delivery.

Make smart decisions about the best way to tell a particular story. Video? Flash presentation? Audio report? Interactive graphic? Searchable database? Any combination of these options takes work – often arduous and time-consuming. Editors must weigh whether the “interactive” effort will be worth the payoff.

Online Audience Expectations

We want clarity, order and trustworthiness from our information sources.

We want information delivered on our schedule.

We want information available in the format we choose – print, online or mobile device.

We also expect all websites to work like Google.

Whether it’s TIVO, iTunes or the daily news, consumers want control.

Conclusion

It takes skill, intelligence and hard work to take information and make it credible and useful to people.

That is the role of the journalist. It is an important role.

Journalism is not going away, despite some ‘sky-is-falling’ predictions.

The business and practice of journalism is evolving into an “interactive model.”

That model is not yet fully developed.


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