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OJR: Why traditional journalists join the online ‘bandwagon’

Over on the Online Journalism Review, Jason Stverak, president of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, has posted some thoughts on the appeal of online journalism for former traditional journalists who leave mainstream media for the digital world, beyond its “growth in popularity”.

In short he argues that online journalism can mean less bureaucracy, more innovation, less traditional expectations and more opportunity for risk-taking.

At many of the legacy media outlets, reporters feel quite limited due to orders coming from the top down, with very little collaboration. The immeasurable levels of bureaucracy that a reporter endures at a tradition media operation to get his or her idea heard were not only a burden but deterred creativity. Online journalism, particularly in a small organization, means very little bureaucracy and more innovation. It means being able to collaborate and communicate with everyone in the organization. And that leads to more ideas for stories and better journalism.

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  • Hmmm – a very positive take on a situation in which many journalists find themselves out of necessity rather than choice! I don’t recognise the picture he paints of “immeasurable levels of bureaucracy” from my own experience in UK journalism – although I know that US publications always did have larger staffs, and much more complex status structures. I do, however, see a lot of journalists driven out of print and online out of necessity rather than choice, because of reduced opportunities and rates in print. Online journalism may provide much greater opportunities for self-expression, but publication in print was never a problem for the best UK journalists.

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