Since January, I have learned a lot about the potential the internet has to influence journalism. It is a tool which is shaping how both media producers make content and how audiences consume this content.
The internet has already produced many new ways for people to consume news. Social networking is an important news tool. Some say that if a story effects them directly, they will read it on their personal Facebook page. Twitter allows people to skim the news in 160 characters, only following links to stories that they are actually interested in.
Similarly to Twitter, Google Reader allows people to sign up for RSS feeds of only sources they like to read. This aggregates the news and places all stories that you wish to read, all in the same place. I think the aggregation of news was an extremely useful thing to cover for me. It firmed up my belief that traditional media, even on the internet, struggle to get readership. With people constantly trying to access news as fast as they can, it shows how key design and multimedia are for keeping hold of a readership online.
This viewpoint was backed up by our analysis of how traditional news websites design their online content. I found that British news sites had a better layout than those from America, however both still had a lot to learn from design.
The entire module has taught me that, it isn’t necessarily the quality of the content which attracts readers online. It is the usability of the website, coupled with the content which makes a news site effective online. Taking a more unique multimedia approach, as the Guardian do for their video content, can often be more successful than the traditional approach, the BBC just lifting video content from traditional T.V broadcasts.
Online journalism can’t just be the same content lifted from traditional media. Online requires new creativity and new content to keep readers interested in the site, as the choice of content online is massive.