Navigating away…

May 12, 2010 - Leave a Response

 As I have spoken about previously, hyper linking is a great way of adding depth to a piece of news by linking to other relevant pieces. One thing that I have been asking myself though is if it is a good idea for a newspaper’s website to link to a rival newspapers one, just to add something to a story?

If it adds another level of understanding to the piece, does it matter where it comes from? Or are newspapers too competitive to allow this to happen?

On the Independent’s website, they do use hyper linking in the main body of their text, but the links only bring you back to the Independent. For example, the main story in today’s Independent is about how Brian Lenihan has asked ministers to find 3billion euro worth of cutbacks in one month.

The hyperlink is on ‘Minister Brian Lenihan’ and links to this, a search of his name. Not very helpful really, as there are hundreds of stories related to Brian Lenihan. Is this an effective use of a hyperlink? I don’t think so.

If newspapers used hyper linking properly, I feel that it could be really effective, I just feel that they have a fear of possibly navigating the reader from their page, and never getting them back. Is this unrealistic?


Transparency: Is it seen?

May 11, 2010 - Leave a Response

With the development of online journalism, transparency is a core part of it. The waters used to be slightly muddier, with the journalist acting as a gate keeper, telling the public what was in the news, and leaving little room for the questioning of the media.

In the last number of years, the mass media has demanded more transparency from the government and the banking system, they demand that certain documents be published, and that certain facts are out in the open. The passion of a journalist is to uncover  details that nobody ever wanted out in the public domain. But, although journalists are all for transparency in governmental matters, are they for transparency in their own career? Should the pubic be able to comment on and question journalists?

This boils back down to interactivity. Is it ever a good idea to allow readers to challenge journalists, when for so long it has been the case that journalists are largely trustworthy.

In the article ‘The Trouble with Transparency’, David Allen says that ‘Transparency…has at least two functions: it is an important part of the discovery of social truth, but it is also a way to gain access to the truth about the manufacturing of news. For journalists, it functions as a system of accountability and as a way of increasing legitimacy with citizens…’. I agree with both of these functions, I feel that through the transparency of journalism, only good can come of it. Why shouldn’t a journalist have to stand over their work and defend in in a public sphere like the internet?

Article: [Can be accessed through the DCU Library]



May 1, 2010 - Leave a Response

The new rage so it seems, live blogging has truely taken off. But what is it?

We all know about Twitter, 140 characters, say what you can fit style micro blog. But a live blog is a more up to date, up to the minute account of an event, whether it be a press conference, a sporting event or even just a television show. It is everywhere, and everyone seems to want to be involved in keeping people bang up to date in what’s gping on.

Shane Hegarty from the Irish Times wrote an article about his experience of Ryan Tubridy’s first Late Late Show via live blog. He says:

‘It sounds a bit pathetic, but there was no better way to watch the first Late Late Show of the season than through Twitter. It was like watching the Late Late with a large crowd of people, but, instead of being drowned out by the din, each had an equal voice. Even as you watched, with the telly flickering and the netbook or phone balancing on your belly, and your eyes doing a Marty Feldman so as to watch both at the same time, it was clear that Twitter added something special. It brought honesty, gut reactions, a lot of intelligence and some great jokes.’

In Hegarty’s opinion, there is room for live blogging, as he seems to think that it enhances an experience, in this case, the first of Tubridy’s Late Late Shows! I would agree with this, as I have followed a few live blogs myself, such as DCUfm and the College Views following of the DCU Students Union elections, and have found them to be very helpful. If the future is with live blogging, then I am in favour of it.


Extra extra.

April 30, 2010 - Leave a Response

Television news is watched by hundreds and thousands of people every night. Viewers tune in to see which stories make the main news, and on RTE and TV3, these stories can often influence news stories in print and radio after.

The face of TV news is changing to adapt to the pressures of online journalism. News based programmes like Frontline with Pat Kenny have had to adapt by adding interactive online aspects to programming, such as Facebook and Twitter. This means that through the show, Pat Kenny can read comments from his laptop on his desk. It’s about as interactive as it comes.

Websites for RTE and TV3 allow for an online news archive, extremely useful for people who have missed the news and don’t have the privellege of Sky Plus. This is the future for TV news and TV news based programmes. They have moved with the times, which shows great initiative. They are now providing extra to what they have always been known for.


Money money money.

April 29, 2010 - Leave a Response

Blogging is everywhere, everyone wants to have an opinion. Thoughts are free. In the industry of journalism, they aren’t. Until now.

It is widely known that professional journalists who blog do not get paid. Why is this? People buy newspapers every day to read peoples point of view in comment and analysis pieces. Blogging is the exact same, it is comment. I understand that internet users expect content for free, I am the same. I never visit the Irish Times website purely because I can’t access a lot of their archived material due to financial hurdles, so if I can get a journalists opinion online and for free, why would I purchase a newspaper to recieve the same thing?

If I was a professional journalist, I would expect to get paid for the amount of work that I put into a blog. I know from doing these blogs that a lot of time and effort goes into it, as much as writing an article for a print publication, so why shouldn’t the journalist get paid?

In these tough economic times, journalism is held in higher regard by the public. Everyone feels angry and wants to know why the country is in the state that it is in. Ordinary people are interested in the news now more than ever. Journalists are working hard to meet the demand for news, so surely they should be paid accordingly?


Too many cooks spoil the broth.

April 29, 2010 - Leave a Response

The age old saying, that if too many people become involved in something, it can ruin it. Will this become the case with citizen journalism?

Anyone can be a journalist these days, maybe not a very good journalist, but they can still get the same amount of coverage that many mainstream establised journalists can because of the internet.

But will this be to the detriment of the quality of news?

If there are so many people all trying to do the same job, will the credibility of journalism be lost?

Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course, but I feel that established journalists should be segregated from members of cyberspace who are trying to do the same job.

If we can all be journalists in a sense and contribute to news, would journalism lose its relevance?


Watch your back.

April 28, 2010 - Leave a Response

With the internet now the fastest growing platform for technology, spreading your views is the easiest it could ever be. Although most people wouldn’t consider the legal implications of their ramblings on their blogs, there some that could be considered.

In the 2009 Defamation Act, a wide area of issues related to defamation were addresses, but one of the main issues was internet journalism. Online journalism has taken off more than anyone could have expected in the last five to ten years, but where does that leave the journalist or blogger? Do the same defamation rules apply to online journalism too? It has been widely said that Irish law does not deal adequately with with the pressing issue of online journalism defamation.

The problems that arise from this is that unlike traditional journalism, there are no gatekeepers, no legal sweepers that comb through copy to identify red herrings. This is the first main issue.

The average Joe Soap on the street wouldn’t have the indepth knowlege of the defamation act, they wouldn’t know the ins and outs, the privelleges associated with reporting certain things. Mr Soap could go home, turn on his computer and write a completely fabricated satirical blog about a well known politician, that said politician had squandered thousands of euros of tax payers money on fancy cars and luxurious holidays.

Does Mr Soap have any sources? No. Does Mr Soap have the backing of a profitable newspaper? No. Should Mr Soap be brought before a court on a defamation charge? Yes.

A defamatory statement is ‘a statement that tends to injure a person’s reputation in the eyes of reasonable members of society’. Mr Soap had injured the reputation of the politician to anyone who had read his blog. That is defamation.

TJ McIntyre, a UCD lecturer, wrote an article in the Sunday Times about the issue of the defamation act in online journalism. He said:

‘Amateur publishers can be surprised to find their comments (however casual or off-the-cuff) being held to the same rules as the printed or spoken words of the traditional media. But, of course, bloggers don’t have the legal and financial back-up that other types of media enjoy.’

In other words, bloggers and online contributors should be careful. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean that it is a totally free platform for freedom of words. He also wrote about how Ireland is behind the times when it comes to online defamation:

‘Since 1996, the United States has given internet providers a defence in respect of material written by users. So have many EU countries, which went further than European law requires. Ireland, however, exposes internet intermediaries to a much greater business risk of being held liable for material they did not produce.’

In order to protect internet users from defaming someone, there would need to be more awareness of the issue. Ordinary people would never think of the problem of defamation when sitting down to do a blog, and that’s where the problem lies.


Defamation Act 2009:

Sunday Times article:


Do what you do best and link to the rest.

April 26, 2010 - Leave a Response

Hyperlinking is another aspect of interactive online jouralism. The hyperlink can transport you from one article to another by the click of the mouse. Here are some of the positives of hyperlinking.

It makes browsing less time consuming:

When browsing news websites, hyperlinks make deciding what you want to read a lot easier. Example: The Independent uses hyperlinks in its website and personally I find them to be great. It’s easier to choose what you do and do not want to read by just seeing a headline and a short article summary. This is a huge advantage of online journalism over print, as it enables you to be in charge. You choose what you want to read, and if you don’t like it, don’t click on it.

Adds to interactivity:

By inserting hyperlinks into an online news story, or a blog, it adds another level to it. It makes it more interesting. Hyperlinks represent the primary mechanism for this interactivity on the Web, linking the various elements of a lengthy, complex work, introducing multiple points of view, and adding depth and detail. A work of online journalism can consist of a hyperlinked set of web pages; these pages can themselves include hyperlinks to other web sites.

With interactivity, the online journalist can pre-determine, to a certain extent, the reader’s progress through the material. Hyperlinks encourage the reader to continue to explore various narrative threads made by the writer. A web of interlinked pages is also an ideal way of giving readers access to source documents and background information that form the article.

 The reader can be taken from page to page within the website they are visiting, which are referred to as internal links; or to a completely different site with related information, through the use of external links. This gives the reader the advantage of having information from various different sources, and a lot of the time, many different viewpoints on one issue.

Especially for research, this makes online journalism much faster than the traditional ways of researching, or looking up documents and other articles. With other media, this would mean spending hours pouring over old newspapers and searching through numerous books or scanning through tapes. The internet can bring up this information as fast as your computer allows.

One of the readings we were given in class was from the Columbia Journalism Review and was called ‘Linked Out’. It says that the internet makes knowledge more accessible, and that the hyperlink is the building block to access this knowledge.

It connects articles to sources, as from one website you are linked to another, and from the next you may be linked to another and so on. The article puts the news in your mind, but through hyper linking, you are free to delve further into the topic of news.

‘Do what you do best and link to the rest’ was said by Jeff Jarvis, an American journalist. It’s a good point, as a journalist can only do so much when it comes down to explaining and telling a story, but if you add the extra dimension of hyper linking, then the reader can go on and do the back up work.

‘Newspapers are getting more comfortable with linking out even to competitors. This takes it farther. It says that the best service you can perform for yourself and your readers is to link instead of trying to do everything.’

And once you really open yourself up to this, then it also means that you can link to more people gathering more coverage of news: ‘We didn’t cover that school board meeting today, but here’s a link to somebody who recorded it.’ That’s really no different from saying after a big news event, ‘We weren’t there to take pictures, but lots of our readers were and here they are.’

Hyperlinks are everywhere, there really is no escape from them, but I feel that they add a lot to a piece, and let the reader decide what he/she wants to follow up on.



Tweet tweet.

April 24, 2010 - Leave a Response

Twitter. The one word that seems to dominate at the minute.

To be honest, I never could get my head around it, I’m probably still a bit confused to be honest. I do have a twitter account. I have 21 followers. Not a whole lot to be honest.

At first I was sceptical about the whole thing. 140 characters to write your feeling and thought, for me that just isn’t enough! I still don’t understand why people put the hash symbol before certain words (I actually can’t find the hash key on my keyboard…) and I don’t understand why people put an @ before peoples names. But other people understand, and that’s good enough for me.

Everyone who is anyone has a twitter, from RTE News, BBC News to our own College View, and DCUfm. But why?

Its appeal is that it is the most up-to-date way of relaying information. No wonder that it’s become the fastest way of breaking news. If you are in search of a story, make sure you ‘follow’ the right people, such as RTE News, and away you go. There are of course some downsides, as the more people you follow, the more tweets that crowd up your home page. I’ve been told that it’s possible to get something called Tweetdeck that manages your tweet intake, but I guess I’m not that fancy yet.

Twitter has revolutionised how we break news and sport, giving up to the minute accounts. Twitter is the future… Until something faster comes along!

Update: While Twitter has its merits, it also has its downsides. The news of the sad passing of broadcaster Gerry Ryan was largely broken through Twitter. Do you agree with this? Some of his family hadn’t even been contacted. Is this fair?


To blog or not to blog.

April 24, 2010 - Leave a Response

That is the question.

Blogging has become a familiar part of internet life over the last few years, there’s no getting away from it. Every news source has a blogging section, from Sky News to the Irish Times, and it’s all well and good because they are trustworthy news sources.

But what about the average person? I can set up a blog, sure look at what I’m doing right now. Do you trust what I say? Probably not. Am I offended? Of course not. Everything I write could be utter rubbish (which it’s not!) after all. That’s the danger of blogging.

Do you trust bloggers? Even if a blogger is attached to a newspaper or other media organisation, would you believe everything they write?

I read an article in which Jeff Jarvis, a blogger, said ‘I have learned to trust the voice and judgment of my fellow citizens’ when it comes to blogging. Also from the same article, ‘A survey of 10,000 blog readers earlier this year conducted by Blogads found that 61 percent of respondents found blogs to be “more honest” than other media outlets.’

Now, this shocks me. Fair enough, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I don’t feel that the average citizen has the training or the understanding that it is involved with news-breaking. How can 61% of those surveyed find blogs ‘more honest’?! You can literally write anything you want on a blog, so how do these people know that it is all true? Unless a news site is referenced, there’s no way to know!