I think we can all agree on one thing: the online media’s potential is close to limitless. It offers newsrooms countless possibilities to attract, inform and bond with their audiences, but it also gives at least as much space to ruin the results of this intention.
Therefore, one ought to have a look at some guidelines on how to use this potential as best as possible. The following guidelines serve as a spotlight on information from several texts, which sources will be given right after the advise they imply.
So, lets have a look at what newsrooms can do to exhaust some possibilities of online media’s potential. They should …
… be aware of their dependence.
Newsrooms have to be aware of their dependence on Facebook, Google, and similar social media. If your articles are popular there, you have a good chance that they will spread and reach as many readers as possible.
… create a curiosity.
There is one simple rule: Items that are unusual, new, or inspiring have the highest popularity. An example is the application How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk, which was a curiosity on many levels: Obviously, it was interesting for a large audience (namely every American that wanted his/her dialect evaluated) on the Web. But the app also worked on another level, that is, the fact that this app was unusual for the New York Times compared to the items they normally issue. As a result, How Y’all, Youse and You Guys was hugely successful, even though one might not have forecasted this for the rather plain app.
… master the art of blogging.
Now, here we meet different opinions; some say, blogging contains a huge potential for online journalism, whereas others deny this. Here are some pros and cons worth considering:
Blogs give additional space, and this entails the possibility for more development. It is possible to interact, add knowledge, and contribute to the article in general. Additionally, the relationship between the journalist and his source is more extensive, because he/she is working out of the limits of standard formats of journalism.
On the other side, it is quite consuming to build up this new relationship and get used to this new format of journalism. But this time is later re-gained when the journalist is appropriately acquainted with the matter.
Another point of criticism, which was made in the article by George Packer in David Carr’s article, is that there is a loss of actual reporting due to the power of blogs. He claims that there was no new information on the market, but rather people philosophizing about existent knowledge. I acknowledge this as a potential danger, but stick with the opinion that a well-written and researched blog can contribute to the field of online journalism.
… make the audience a part of the journalistic experience.
The innovation of iReporting by CNN gives the public the feeling it is contributing to the production and sharing process of news. One might add that this feeling of responsibility evokes feeling of loyalty, and creates more dependable readers.
This approach gives the audience another role, apart from the passive role as a reader: Suddenly, he/she is part of a symbiotic relationship. One could say that this strategy is like building a bridge between the corporation and the ‘average’ person on the street. Furthermore, this interactivity makes the newsroom seem more reliable.
Finally, and importantly, the interdependence between news corporation and audience allows us a more dynamic view on what was originally shown to us via professional journalism. We gain a more differentiated, yet more confusing view of the world and its citizens. Old patterns of journalism are shaken. The online media give us the possibility to display political, social, cultural aspects in another way that, if done the right way, teaches us more about how the world actually is.
I hope this medley of different advices sheds a light on the question how newsrooms can and should use the potential of online media. If you’re interested in the issue, feel free to catch up on all the information by clicking on the given sources after each bullet point.