This post will discuss the ideas of timeliness, text length, accuracy, multimedia and legalities and how they are implemented differently in the online medium.
Robert Johnston (The Daily Miracle, p 303) says that the internet presents a whole new set of challenges for journalists in terms of writing and presentation.
Presentation and delivery of information remain the same as in traditional news in that information is conveyed through as few words as possible, to keep readers attention. (The Daily Miracle, p 308).
An aspect of delivery is deciding how the text and accompanying media will be displayed on the web page. Research has confirmed that readers prefer short single sentence paragraphs compared to longer paragraphs which seem to discourage viewing. Percentages show that single sentence paragraphs receive twice as many overall eye fixations than the larger ones (The Daily Miracle, p 309). Online news websites can act as an endless slate of information and stories are sometimes three times lengthier than they would appear in a newspaper. Reporters need to take into account that although they have that luxury, it doesn’t mean they should be creating and publishing larger articles. There is no guarantee the whole article is being read and if it’s not being read, it’s pointless and takes up precious time.
Jonathan Casson, the Guardian’s head of production says thanks to the internet journalists don’t have three or four deadlines a day, now there’s 24-hour news coverage which means every minute of the day is a deadline (Online Journalism Blog). Due to this, articles are now published first and then revised later (Online Journalism Blog).
This creates room for error as journalists have growing pressure to churn out a story faster than ever before. As soon as they finish the interviews a journalist needs to be typing a tweet, formulating a status (facebook), sending multimedia, not to mention forming the article before they even get back to their desk. All these different aspects need to be completed in a minimal amount of time, and as stated above not all these platforms can be revised straight away which allows for mistakes to slip through and heightens the possibility of less verification on facts.
The aspect legal difficulty is another factor that affects the way a journalist prepares and delivers news online (The Daily Miracle, p 303). These problems relate to the worldwide nature of the internet and that when a news article is published it remains archived for anyone to access at anytime for a very long time (The Daily Miracle, p 304).
These factors that concern preparing the structure of a story beforehand and then delivery of the news must be taken into account when publishing on the internet.
The Daily Miracle: an introduction to journalism by David Conley & Stephen Lamble.