Print journalism won’t become extinct, but online media will offer readers more variety and control than they have with a newspaper.
Text, photos, audio, video, animated graphics and interactive chat can be packaged into a Web site to tell stories.
Stories, images and digital extras can be linked to build story packages.
Navigation is crucial on news Web sites. Sites must be designed to be informative, inviting and logical to allow readers to roam the site as they customize their news.
Reporters need to develop new storytelling techniques to make multimedia packages work.
Online stories differ from newspaper stories in that they can be posted seconds after they’re written and can be updated constantly, they’re built by several staffers, and they feature smaller images and bigger type. They also are presented as one-column stories to allow readers to scroll, and they can include audio, video, Web site links, additional stories, blogs, podcasts or interactive elements.
An online news story often becomes a multimedia package, but journalistic standards and reporting techniques remain the same as those for newspaper stories.
The Web site’s home page, similar to the newspaper’s front page, is a gateway to the online news.
The home page must be comprehensive but easy to navigate.
Story links on the home page must contain compelling headlines and concise summaries.
The home page should include a space for the time and date, an index or navigation bar and buttons, a lead story, a footer that lists copyright information and provides an e-mail address for reader feedback, links to top stories, interactive extras and a search engine.
Multimedia = text + photos + audio + video + graphics.
Multimedia, or its synonyms “cross-platform journalism” and “media convergence,” incorporates audio, video and interactivity into online news stories.
Convergence takes three forms: newsroom convergence, news-gathering convergence and content convergence.
Critics of converged journalism argue that making journalists learn to do too many tasks will lead to mediocrity because few will be able to do all the tasks well.
For online storytelling, reporters use print to explain, multimedia to show and interactive options to demonstrate and engage. They provide links to connect readers with other Web sites or stories to get more information.
The printed word remains the building block of online journalism.
Multimedia extras to add to print include audio clips, cell phone updates, online chats, photo galleries, video, webcams and webcasts, podcasts and animated graphics.
Interactive options include live chats, blogs and other means to achieve reader feedback; online polls and quizzes; and downloads of documents from the story.
Links can be to previous stories on the topic, other Web sites, organizations or people in the story that readers could contact, and editorials or columns, as well as other story elements such as stats, quotes, transcripts or audios of interviews.
Weblogs are Web sites at which users, known as “bloggers,” post news, comments or links. The action of posting that material is called “blogging.”
Newsroom-related blogs allow reporters to discuss their stories, provide transcripts of interviews and add supplemental facts. Columnists use blogs to defend past columns. Editors use them to explain the decision-making behind a controversial story or editorial. Blogs allow readers to post questions, comments or corrections to news stories.
Bloggers can post breaking news, and they often monitor newsworthy events, providing updates, forums for discussion, and links.
Blogging isn’t always journalism, but it is participatory media. Blogs convert a one-way monologue into a two-way conversation.
Few bloggers do their own reporting.
Blogs use a variety of formats, from brief notes to long essays, written by one person or a collaboration of writers.
Tips for creating news stories for Web sites include:
Chunk the information: Write short sentences and paragraphs.
Tweak the text by adding subheads, boldfacing key words, or using bullets to create lists and emphasize key points.
Online packages can be planned by using the planning guide in the textbook.
Audio clips: Sound files.
Backpack journalism (or converged reporting): A reporting style in which the journalist, lugging a backpack filled with a laptop, satellite phone, digital camera and microphone, transmits reports from the field, acting single-handedly as reporter, producer, editor and engineer.
Bloggers: People who post material on a blog.
Blogging: The act of posting material on a blog.
Blogs: Web sites where users post news, comments or links to other sites. Posts appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent postings on top.
Cell phone updates: A journalistic service that sends information as text messages to a person’s cell phone.
Chunk: The 100 words that fill up a computer screen.
Content convergence: The type of convergence in which the final story is presented in multimedia form, combining text, images, audio, video, Web links, blogs and podcasts.
Converged reporter: (See backpack journalism).
Cross-platform journalism (or multimedia or media convergence): The concept of posting stories online that incorporate text, audio, video and interactivity.
Currency: Timeliness. (1) The term used for Web stories that can be posted online seconds after they are written. (2) The ability to constantly update online stories.
Footer: Information in small print at the bottom of a Web page that provides the site’s copyright and e-mail information.
Home page: The gateway to an online news Web site; similar to Page 1 of a newspaper.
Interactive extras: Elements provided on Web sites that demonstrate something or engage the reader (e.g., live chats, polls and quizzes and blogs).
Links: Connections from one Web site to other sites or from one page to others at the same site. Readers may click on words, phrases or headlines to visit a different site or page that provides more information.
Media convergence: See cross-platform journalism.
Multimedia: See cross-platform journalism.
Multimedia package: An online news story that uses audio, video, and other extra elements in addition to text and photos to tell the story.
Navigation: The ability to move about a Web site; made possible by linking layers together, with continuous options, of stories, images and digital extras.
Navigation bar: The index of a Web site, where readers can click on buttons or icons linked to other pages at the site.
Navigation buttons: Links to a site’s most popular sections.