The word online connotes a whole different world. The significance of the element opens the door into another realm completely. Not to mention, the technology that surrounds this phenomenon. Okay, yes, maybe it sounds a little scary – and it can be if used the wrong way – but I’m talking about the weird and wonderful world of online story telling…or as us ‘professionals’ like to call it…online journalism. So, what is online journalism?
Multi-media platforms have become the essential to the survival of what we know as traditional journalism. Innovation in the industry is about understanding scope. Journos are now taking technology as their story platform and taking that platform to their audience in more ways that you could imagine. This has also instigated the chase to find new, engaging and interesting ways to tell the story because what differentiates your story from everybody else’s version on the world wide web?
Look around on the train or the bus on your way to work. What do you see? People on smart phones and more people on smart phones. Hence, creating content that makes sense on a mobile phone is vital – if it doesn’t work on mobile you need to ask yourself why you’re doing it at all. Just the same as print media, where a news editor has to make the header and written content fit perfectly into the space provided, online media has to take into consideration the layout of the viewing platforms and devices.
But, now, it’s not just about fitting in the lines. The opportunity and capacity for imagination and inventiveness has sky rocketed beyond expectations. The audience is now used to a certain quality online that they demand more. Brisbane Times Chief Editor Simon Holt describes the audience as the hungry beast and their newsroom works tirelessly to feed it with wide-ranging variety and taste. Augmented and virtual reality online fabricates a new engagement for the viewer. Infographics have become the key to compiling data in an attractive, comprehensible way. The social media forum also allows them to play a role in the making of news, and comments and likes are just the beginning.
Nevertheless, my friends, good journalism will always remain good journalism and throwing crap up online (which happens frequently these days due to the ease of the medium) will not suffice. The importance of interviewing talent, investigation skill and the foundation of news values are what they always have been. It is the speed at which they have to be done and the numerous platforms they need to appear on to make it in the public forum that has changed dramatically.