Week11: Print and Online Journalism Merge

28 Mar

As digital media continues to grow in popularity, publishers and print news organizations are scrambling to keep up with the industry.  More and more companies are realizing the importance of an online presence and are taking the steps necessary to develop that presence.  Some are more successful than others, but the important thing to note is that everyone is aware of the digital monster that isn’t going away.  Companies that have taken advantage of the Internet for the benefit of reaching a wider audience are seeing tremendous results.  Print media is going digital, and it’s reshaping the way we gather and report the news.

Publications like Sports Illustrated have fully embraced the idea of digital media and have implemented it into every aspect of production.  SI has emerged as a leader among magazine publications because it doesn’t think of itself as a magazine, but as a sports media company. “We don’t compete with magazines, we compete with networks,” said Terry McDonell, editor of the Time Inc. Sports Group.  SI has several different ways of reaching its audience through digital media.  It provides apps for the iPad, HP TouchPad, two Android tablets, the Galaxy Tab and Motorola Xoom.  Although the devices are different sizes, they run apps at the same ratio, so there’s no need to format separate versions. Nearly all of SI staff writers produce content for both the web and print.  The web stories are basically just shorter versions of the print stories, but still each story is given a web version.  As a result, Sports Illustrated‘s brand and voice are consistently strong across all platforms.

Other publications are implementing new and innovative ways to increase readership, including interactive reporting.  A Canadian online news company called OpenFile has been experimenting with an idea termed “open a file” where members of the community are able to submit questions or suggestions for stories they feel are relevant.  If the idea looks promising, then others are allowed to comment and give feedback, and OpenFile assigns a reporter to cover the topic.   The coverage and subsequent community response unfolds on the site for all to see, sometimes resulting in “files” with multiple layers: photo slide shows and video accompanying the text article, and, for some stories, extensive community input in the story’s forum.  Although this is a great way to find out what readers are interested in, there is a downside to being so transparent.   “We’ve run stories and then seen them on the front page of a newspaper that next day,” said Kathy Vey, editor in chief of OpenFile. Even so, the concept has had tremendous success and everyone has an opportunity to be heard.

We as a society will continue to digitialize every aspect of our lives, and print journalism is no exception.  As writer for SustainableJournalism.org Lindsay Oberst wrote, “People no longer seek out news. Instead, it often comes to them through social networks.”  As fewer people turn to daily newspapers for news, we as journalists must find ways to reach a wider audience.  Digital media is the key.

My Storify assignment:  http://storify.com/alt024/guy-gets-rejected-at-bar#publicize

One Storify story that I think was really well done was the one given to us as an example about the London riots.  Anthony De Rosa is the creator of the Storify, and I think he did an excellent job of blending together various accounts of the riots into one single story.  He incorporates other tweets from different sources as well as links to actual reports of the riots from media outlets.  The information is thorough and his Storify really captures what was going on at the time, from the perspective of a wide range of people.



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