Tuesday, September 14, 2010

a distinction with a difference

What's the difference between online journalism and journalism online? A lot, writes The Online Journalism Review's Robert Hernandez, who is on the faculty of USC's Annenberg School of Communication.

The latter is merely print journalism transferred to screen format. Not bad, not good, not really different. The former, however, is a different bird entirely, that takes all the web has to offer and uses it to both report -- and present. Let's let Hernandez tell it:

Journalism Online is what we use to lovingly call "shovelware," which is taking existing "legacy" content and posting it on the Web. We know that there is immeasurable value in having the paper's articles, radio show's podcast and TV show's newscasts available on the Web.

Text alone is perhaps the most powerful form of journalism on the Web.

But that is still Journalism Online.

What I do.... what I identify with... what I live and breathe is Online Journalism.

So, what is that exactly?

Well, it's hard to explain but I look at the latest technology and opportunities only available on the Internet and try to harness them for the advancement and distribution of storytelling and journalism.

I look at FourSquare and see how we can use that to find eye-witness sources in breaking news events. I look at photo gallery widget by TripAdvisor, meant for vacation snapshots, and see how it could enrich our coverage of, say, the World Cup.

I work with engineers and see how our crafts can work together and create new experiences. Like when we took RSS feeds from around the globe and mapped them for a Seattle Times project. It was based on the addicting, but somewhat pointless Twittervision.

As we've said before, and need to keep repeating: journalism is evolving, changing. And the internet -- not an end in itself, but merely a tool -- is helping that evolution take place. So long as we use it wisely. bk

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