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Online Journalism

reflections on a changing medium

Tag Archives: james Foust

Upon reading chapter 12, “Opportunities and Challenges,” of Foust’s Online Journalism, I began thinking of slightly more recent current struggles and issues that I have recently read about that relate to his discussion of the business model of online journalism.

Foust noted the success of the Wall Street Journal in selling subscription fees to readers, and the failures of other news sources from attempting to use the same model. Now, with e-readers such as the Nook, the Kindle and the iPad, the format of the traditional newspaper is changing even further, along with the business model. This new form of accessing news media is allowing journalism giants the chance to re-establish a business model that might just work. By charging subscription fees, news outlets such as the New York Times, USA Today and the the Wall Street Journal  are hoping to rake in a bit more cash instead of giving their content away for free. Other journalism sources are following suit.

On December 11, 2009 Ravit Lichtenberg commented on the future of social media and journalism in the article 10 Ways Social Media Will Change in 2010 on ReadWriteWeb.com. In one section of the article, Lichtenberg writes,

 “Last month, Rupert Murdoch announced he may opt News Corp out of Google, instructing it to de-index its publications from the search engine and giving exclusive rights to Bing for a fee. This means that content publishers will be able to determine where they make their content available and at what cost.”

With such holdings as the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, The Times (UK), FOX, Hulu and Myspace, Murdoch’s decision to force Google to de-index these materials could be an essential driving force behind the changing business model simply because he weilds so much power. Murdoch has also proposed the monitoring and limiting of click-through’s (as mentioned by Foust) available to users who are viewing content through an indexing, aggregating site such as Google or Bing. Though these changes have not occurred yet, over the past year Murdoch has been very vocal about the power that he holds over the indexing and search engine business and has further established his foothold in the profits garnered from the creation and distribution of media content.

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The fact that today’s journalists are expected to have new-and-improved skill sets including things like shooting and editing photos and video and capturing and editing audio, might sound a little overwhelming to an aspiring journalist.  This might be especially true of those who are better acquainted with the archetypal “print-journalist” whose role is simpler and more definitive than what James Foust refers to as a “modern backpack journalist.” On the surface, it really sounds like a handful. Equipment? As a young kid, when I first realized that journalism had nothing to do with marble composition notebooks and everything to do with all things new and exciting, I was happy as a clam with my Hello Kitty notebook and my favorite purple pen. Now I feel like regardless of what I’m equipped with, I’m always slipping behind and media technology marches onward. What gives? I certainly didn’t sign up to be a techie but I’m certainly becoming one. Throughout college thus far, I have amassed a great deal of technological gadgets. For example, the laptop that I’m typing this with was one of my first purchases as a college student. I have also purchased a Nikon digital SLR camera in order to learn to take photographs to go along with my writing, a tripod, a handheld audio recorder to use during interviews, an iPhone, several pairs of Sony headphones for audio-editing and transcription and most recently, my Kodak zi8. It’s also important to note the time that it takes to learn to use all of these devices and the software that goes along with them. (I’m recently signed up for WordPress,  Vimeo, YouTube and Twitter and have learned Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Audacity, etc.)

But don’t get me wrong. This never-ending flow of new equipment isn’t all, or even mostly, bad. It’s quite the advantage, actually. With all of these things at my disposal—whether they’re the latest models or not—I am able to reap the benefits of living in a highly connected world. It’s becoming easier to describe, document and share newsworthy materials. There is something truly empowering about getting a story for which I have recorded and transcribed interviews, written, taken photographs and videos of the subjects and personally choosing how to present it to my audience. Without depending on others to come up with an aggregate of these media materials, I worry less about a disconnect or depersonalization of the story

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