Thursday, October 12, 2006

Online Journalism Lecture 12/10/06

Lecture 1

Amanda Powell (right), current editor of, spoke about the pressures and issues which arise when dealing with the news feed on an online website; especially one which has almost 11 million hits a month.

The immediate need to write the story, check facts, ensure it is legally sound, and then publish it was at the forefront of her lecture. Her talk centred around how an online website is designed to keep a user 'clicking' - a user who on average will only stay for four mintues - and in that time deliever as much interesting, informative and above all accurate infomation in such a short space of time.

With such a short space of time in which a reader will give a site his or her attention it does seem as if the reporting of news on such an instant level leaves little room for creative input or anything more than a very broad and basic overview of a story and it's quite possible to see how news reporting - even for a site as respected and diverse as the BBC - could become nothing more than 'factory line' reporting in which an article must be churned out, checked, uploaded, and then the journalist will have to move on to the next piece for the site.

With a magazine article or feature there is a lot more room for creativity and in-depth analysis as well as being able to engage the reader on a far more conversational and yet intelligent level as your reader is far more likely to be willing to read the entire article.

Despite this ever-so-slightly negative view of online news reporting I did find Amanda's talk very interesting and as the BBC is such a giant (or dinosaur?) in the journalistic world (in any medium) it was certainly enlightening to hear a high-ranking employee discussing the workings of a top-level internet news site.

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