10 Reasons Why Online Journalists Are Better Than Journalists

The Online Journalism Review has published an article, written by Emily Henry, listing 10 reasons why online journalists are better than journalists. You can read it here: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/people/emilyhenry/201205/2073/

Henry has some good points. Specifically, she firstly states online journalists are better because they are fighting to be here. 

“Online news is still figuring out how to pay for itself, and hiring journalists is a substantial investment in a world where information is largely free.”

John Grey, former online editor of The Courier Mail, recently spoke to my Online Journalism class about the different models of online journalism. For example, the Herald Sun is trialling the freemium model.

Right now, news companies are accumulating their online readership, who are no doubt attracted by the ease of access, and the fact that it is free. However, in the future these companies will need to make money somehow, and by then their audience will be so accustomed to getting their news online it is unlikely they would leave just because a small fee is imposed. Alternatively, news maw continue to be free and the revenue may come from adverts.

I also think her seventh point, that online journalists are everywhere at once, is incredibly true. Journalists are now able to use WiFi to post pictures and content immediately, and through the use of twitter and live comment feeds, the audience pretty much has news on demand.

Another point is that online journalists are held accountable immediately. This, to me, is wonderful. I detest nothing more than reading an article with an error, because the only apology the journalist gives is in a teeny tiny retraction in the next newspaper. It has become very clear to me in the past few years that journalists are not exactly praised for what they do (sad, but true). However, I believe online journalists have the power to change that. If they know they are going to be held accountable, immediately, for any discrepancy in their reporting, perhaps they will strive for perfection. We’ll see.

However, I am not satisfied with one of Henry’s points. She argues that online journalists are better writers, because

“SEO will not allow us to write vague headlines or use bad puns, and we only have the attention our audience for about three blinks, so we have to practice all of George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing at once.”

I think Henry needed to present more of an argument on this point. Saying that online journalists are ‘better writers’ is quite a big statement to make, and needs more backup than a sentence.

All in all, it’s an interesting article.

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