I love online news. For me it is the future of journalism. While I don’t mind flicking through (or even writing for) the odd magazine or newspaper, online is where I can bring all my skills from previous lives together.
Online I can podcast and relive my radio days. I can make video clips in documentary or news. Or I can just write.
A few weeks ago a new online news service emerged – The New Daily. Run by former The Age and The Herald Sun editor Bruce Guthrie it is free content that promises to deliver quality journalism.
Always excited to have a new paper on the block – and a new potential employer – I was a bit surprised to see its content is still reliant on traditional copy and pictures. Sure there is some video, but it is streamed from the ABC. It made me think, “you can take the man out of the newspaper, but you can’t take the newspaper out of the man.”
Some online sites can just afford to be copy and photographs, I know, I write for some of them and their rates are low. But then there are others that have sputtering of video content or the odd podcast. Whenever I see this I think audio and video are the after thoughts to online content.
This does not have to be the case. With smart phones and tablets providing ample of apps to help journalists record, cut and upload their material I don’t see why media rich content is not at the forefront of online storytelling for news.
Clearly we are in a transition. Newspapers are downsizing and journalists who were brought up with ink stains on their fingers are adapting to a new format. I am sure if we took a survey of the work experience of the online journalists now writing for these sites we would see a majority began on a newspaper.
Of course the skills they developed in those environments are crucial to delivering quality journalism online. However they have put the blinkers on to some degree. When all you write is copy, all you can see is copy.
While the skills developed on a newspaper ensure quality journalism continues, we need to be careful we are not narrowing the field on the formats we can deliver.
I would love to know how many journalists from radio and television newsrooms are working online. And if they are, are they creating podcasts and video clips every day?
Being able to write good copy is key to being a successful journalist. But if you are going to work online you need more than words to captivate your audience.