Archive for the ‘Interactivity.’ Category

Navigating away…
May 12, 2010

 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

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]


Extra extra.
April 30, 2010

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.


Do what you do best and link to the rest.
April 26, 2010

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.



Opinion flow.
March 30, 2010

Interactivity is an important issue with regards to online journalism. How much interaction is too much interaction?

In the seminar reading for Week 7 : ‘Interactivity: an open sewer through your newspaper website’, Frits van Exter, the former editor of the Dutch newspaper ‘Trouw’ gives a speech on reader participation and its effects on journalism. The speech raised a number of valid issues regarding interactivity. For example, what problems could arise through audience interaction? By leaving yourself open to comments you are leaving yourself open to criticism, and I just don’t know if a journalist’s ego could deal with that.

Another point, do newspapers have to become interactive to survive? And if they do, what tools do they have to cope with the change? In my opinion, newspapers need the technological transition to keep up with television and radio because of immediacy. The public want to be involved, and if you don’t let them be involved in your news organisation, they will surely go somewhere else to vent their opinions. The tools that organisations have are registration [Make people register for your website] and moderation [Keep an eye on what is being said]. These tools are in place to allow organisations to monitor the comments and interaction being made.

Technological advances mean that the media has never been so interactive. It provides more of an opportunity for citizen journalism, for comment and for opinion. Journalists now find themselves having to answer to the public about their work, whether the comments are good or bad. While this is fair enough, everyone is entitled to their opinion, what happens when there is such a volume of communicators? How do we have time to accept everyones point? How would your comment stand out in the sea of opinion?

This video was made by the Creative Commons, it’s worth a look.

Article: [The article can be accessed in the DCU library page by doing an online database search of Media, Culture & Society. Vol. 22 No. 2. 205 – 221.]