What’s the biggest problem facing the journalism industry? The online explosion of content and competition, jobs cuts, the advertising crisis? According to the Online Journalism Review’s Robert Niles it’s none of these – but instead the attitude of some journalists.
There are too many journalists, he says in this post discussing the Knight Digital Media Center News Entrepreneur Boot Camp in May, who are “wallowing in a culture of failure” and he urges more to step off of the familiar pathway in journalism.
You won’t be the first journalist to do this. That means that others are available to help show you the way. But you’ll need to start listening to these new voices, and tune out the pessimism, frustration and even scolding you might hear from the colleagues you leave behind.
Robert Hernandez, writing on the Online Journalism Review, tells us a bit about himself and in doing so nails his colours firmly to the online journalism mast:
I’m a journalist, first and foremost… I’m a Web journalist… what I live and breathe is Online Journalism… What can I say? I am a geek. A technophile. An iPhone addict… I’m a Web journalist.
There are certain unique advantages to each different form of journalism – the convenience of print, the visual and emotional impact of film, to name a couple. For Hernandez it is the unique advantages of online journalism, not simply the use of the internet as a publishing platform, that define it, that distinguish online journalism from journalism online. “There’s a lot of difference between the two,” he writes.
Think of it this way: Art Online or Online Art.
Take a photo of Mona Lisa, one of the most famous works of art in the history of mankind. Get a nice, hi-res image of the painting and post it onto the Web.
The single image on the Internet brings this classical piece of art to millions of people who never will travel to Paris to see it first-hand.
That is Art Online.
Now, think of art that takes advantage of, or is based on, technology and the Internet. It’s a type of art that can only exist because of the Web and the latest technology.
As online publishers seek new ways of making money from digital news, Robert Niles suggests that news outlets could benefit from using the e-book rental model.
Writing on the Online Journalism Review website, Niles suggests they should capitalise on a model which he says has grown by 71 per cent in the last seven years in the US, especially when it comes to publishing in-depth journalism.
Every year, some top newspaper enterprise reporting projects end up as books. What if some newsrooms flipped the development cycle, and initiated some of their more extensive enterprise reporting projects as e-books, available for sale or for rent?
(…) That makes sense to me. Even as my consumption of news online has sated my appetite for the commodity news I can find in a printed newspaper, I still keep buying books and magazines for longer, more detailed narratives. I happily pay for that content in print because I can’t find an alternative that’s better or cheaper (or both) online.
Just how important is it to get your site into Google News? Robert Niles raises the question on the Knight Digital Media Center’s Online Journalism Review.
“For many online publishers, affiliated with newspapers or not, the Holy Grail of traffic is inclusion in the Google News index.
“But is inclusion in that index or other search engines’ news indices really worthwhile for the majority of online news publishers? I’m going to argue… no. (Well, at least it’s not worth making a fuss over.)”