Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Digitalization Of News- An Extract

Information Super Highway

The internet has had a global effect on communication, where the creation of virtual communities exists online. These online communities are ever more reliant on receiving their news online and in ‘real-time’, within the new online economy electronic communication is instantaneous, making the concept of ‘real time’ news a reality. The internet “is a medium of multimedia content, interactive communications, electronic mail, and much more” (p.61, J.V Palik, Journalism and the New Media, 2001) which can only fuel further advancements in the field of online journalism.

Technological advances mean that we are now ‘real-time consumers’ of news through the use of an online format. “print news organisations update their online product every ten minutes throughout the day, assuming that the public is increasingly impatient with anything less than real-time information” (p.97, Going live, P. Seib 2001). Technological advances have always changed the way in which we consume news through the use of not only the internet, but from the earlier advancement of the ‘writing tool’, from typewriters to ‘Ceefax’ on BBC channels. Now it is having to adapt to our ‘needs’ and assumes that as an online community we want the news as fast and updated as the technology itself.

Within the 1970’s researchers in the field of advances in journalism within the United States had “a hunch that paper may not be a viable means of distribution for much longer” (p 49, New Technology and the Press, R. Winsbury, 1975). Although an obvious statement, even early on in technological advances, figures in the field of media were aware that advances in technology and the globalization of news, would certainly have an effect on the distribution, and ultimately the consumption of news. Even the way in which journalists themselves would carry out reporting the news, and the medium that they would use was questioned, it was considered that eventually contemporary methods would be “replacing the traditional type writer and altering their work style” (p. 45, New Technology and the Press, R. Winsbury, 1975), something that the internet and the explosion of an online community and news consumers can only support.

Potential implications for news companies have arisen because of developments in technology, where these advancements have to be followed and kept up to date with by the newspaper companies. This is in order to deliver news through the medium that consumers are demanding. This development of online technology and the growth in use of the World Wide Web, and the power of computers- “ in the first part of the twentieth century, computing power was doubling every three years…now it doubles every eighteen months” (p. 186 J.V Palik, Journalism and the New Media, 2001)- means that the mass media have also had a drastic change in the way in which news is displayed, because of increased amounts of technology. This increase in technology changes the way in which news is visibly displayed to us, it’s now on a screen, and ultimately the way in which we as society actually consume news. This increase in computing power has obviously lead to the increase of online news consumption, with web pages being up dated by the minute, and website hits increasing, this is the birth of the Online Newspaper

The Online Newspaper

Interactive News

An aesthetically pleasing web site can only add to a larger amount of consumers of news. The webpage that is displayed is a great factor in the audience figures that a news website attracts, and it has to provide what the consumers of news expect.

“Contextualization is paramount in online news coverage; links, easily accessible background material, and effective search tools should allow the news consumer to find additional material to help place a current story into its historical or other context.”
(p. 45, Journalism and the New Media, J.V Palik, 2001)

These attributes of an online newspaper is what ultimately attracts the reader. After studying two separate news websites, The Daily Mirror and The Birmingham Post, it is apparent that online newspapers, as a print newspaper would, follows certain design rules. The visible display of an online newspaper is obviously different to that of a traditional print newspaper, yet there is a definite set of ‘rules’ that are followed, even by separate newspapers. This is something that through changes to online journalism, consumers have expected, this is what

“news consumers want; the opening screen should draw attention to what’s new, whether it’s through scrolling text, well executed information, graphics, or some other technique” (p.44, J.V Palik, Journalism and New Media, 2001)

Online news has become increasingly popular with consumers being able to interact with their newspaper, responding to posts and involving themselves as ‘citizen journalists’;

“the internet is a medium of multimedia content, interactive communications, electronic mail, and much more” (p.61, J.V Palik, Journalism and the New Media, 2001)

The internet is not only fuelling an online journalistic profession, but is also allowing consumers themselves to ‘interact’ with their news and allowing that ‘much more’ to occur.

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