Embracing the online revolution

Journalist Alison Gow has these fantastic words of wisdom “online journalism shouldn’t be a chore, it should be exciting, different, interesting, and fun.”

After reading Alison’s response to the translated version of the Internet Manifesto by a team of German journalists, the importance of online journalism has been clarified for me.

The Internet Manifesto explains, in 17 easy to read points, how the internet is a different form of journalism which we, as journalists, need to understand.

I agree with Declaration 1 that “the media must adapt their work methods to today’s technological reality”.

The technological advances in the 21st century are fantastic. News can be spread worldwide in literally seconds. If something interests you then you can write a blog about it, have a quick Tweet or email the information to a friend. The exchange of information has become instanteous.  

News reporting is no longer limited to just words. Videos, photos and comments from readers can now accompany an article. Anyone can have a blog. Anyone can comment on that blog.

This is the 21st century beginning of “Journalism as a Conversation”. As Declaration 17 explains, “the internet makes it possible to communicate directly with those once known as the recipients – the readers, listeners and viewers.”

Alison also places emphasis on how journalists need to engage with the recipients and to become proactive within multimedia journalism. By adding extra digital content to an online article the content is more “dynamic and memorable” and recipients will willingly give up their time to look at it.

With this in mind, Alison promotes the “get-on-with-it” approach. The world is changing fast but we all need to catch up and live that well-known cliche of “getting with the times”.

In her “five phrases to outlaw in newsrooms” Alison makes a point that not everyone understands the significance of the internet. By not appreciating the extensive possibilities the internet has to offer, in Alison’s words, some journalists are “limiting themselves to one avenue of story-telling – text.”

Extending your journalistic toolkit through the use of online journalism is important and, at some point of your career, inevitable. It is time to knuckle down and understand and appreciate what online journalism has to offer.

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