There are basically 4 broad classifications of online journalism news sites, with relevant examples, discuss these classifications. Are the classifications exhaustive? If yes why? If no why?
IDRIS Hauwa’u Garba
IBRAHIM Aisha Abdul
JAMES Anna Sabina
ISHAQ Jamilu Halilu
IMONIGIE Precious Omegie
What is Online Journalism?
“Networked Publics,” University of Southern California, provides the following definition of Online Journalism;
“Online journalism refers to news content produced and/or distributed via the Internet, particularly material created by journalists who work for mainstream market driven news organizations. While blogs and other emerging forms of online news communication are widely acknowledged as significantly influencing mainstream news content both on and offline, they are considered here a distinct phenomenon and treated under the category of alternative media”.
To online journalism veteran Doug Millison; “The simple answer is, of course, journalism as it is practiced online. Journalism is any non-fiction or documentary narrative that reports or analyzes facts and events firmly rooted in time (either topical or historical) which are selected and arranged by reporters, writers, and editors to tell a story from a particular point of view. Journalism has traditionally been published in print, presented on film, and broadcast on television and radio. “Online” includes many venues. Most prominent is the World Wide Web, plus commercial online information services like America Online. Simple Internet email also plays a big role. Also important are CD-ROMs (often included with a book) linked to a web site or other online venue, plus intranets and private dial-up bulletin board systems”.
“Before identifying different kinds of journalism online, one has to explicitly note that the Internet as it can be considered to be affecting journalism can be discussed in two ways: the inroads it has made into newsrooms and on desktops of journalists working for all media types in terms of Computer-Assisted Reporting (CAR); and how it has created its own professional type of news work: online journalism” (Deuze, 1999).
TYPES OF ONLINE JOURNALISM NEWS SITES
Mainstream News sites: The most widespread form of news media production online is the mainstream news site, generally offering a selection of editorial content (be it shoveled from a linked parent medium or produced originally for the Web) and a minimal, often moderated form of participatory communication (Schultz, 1999; Jankowski and Van Selm, 2000; Kenney, Gorelik and Mwangi, 2000). Examples are the much-acclaimed sites of CNN, the BBC and MSNBC. Most online newspapers fall into this category as well. Course materials, handbooks and curriculum planning of journalism schools and university departments can be considered to be largely based on this type on online journalism, combining technological skills (working with certain software, learning XML or HTML for example) with specific news writing skills for the Web (Nielsen and Morkes, 1997; McGuire et al., 2000). This type of news site cannot be said to differ in its approach to journalistic storytelling, news values, relationships with audiences fundamentally from journalism as it is practised in print or broadcasting media.
In Nigeria, perfect examples of this kind of websites are all the online version of some conventional newspapers and some other online-only websites e.g; vanguardngr.com, dailytrust.com, thisday.com.ng, punch.com.ng, sunnewsonline.com, premiumtimes.com, newsdiaryonline.com, with an inclusion of the schools official website; http://www.abu.edu.ng.
Index & Category sites: A second type of online journalism is much less located within the mainstream media organizations, but is often attributed to certain search engines (like Altavista or Yahoo), marketing research firms (like Moreover) or agencies (News index), and sometimes even enterprising individuals (Paperboy). Here online journalists offer (deep-) links to existing news sites elsewhere on the World Wide Web, which links are sometimes categorized and even annotated by editorial teams. Such sites generally do not offer much editorial content of their own, but do at times offer areas for chat or exchanging news, tips and links by the general public i.e. for instance maintaining some kind of bulletin board system (BBS). A well-known example thereof is the option most search engines offer to ‘add a site’, which site will then be subjected to editorial scrutiny. On a side note one could argue that sites offering some editorial content and furthermore providing (annotated) links to content elsewhere on the Web such as the Australian Arts & Letters Daily, Bosnian Mario Profaca’s news site or the infamous Drudge Report by Matt Drudge fall into this category. What is sometimes labeled as ‘new online journalism’ is the phenomenon of the Weblog or ‘Blog’, an often highly personal daily diary by an individual, not in the least by a journalist, telling stories about experiences online and offering readers links with comments to content found while surfing the Web (Bunn, 2001; Lasica, 2001). These types of individual journalism (a.k.a. ‘user-generated content sites’) can be located somewhere between index- and comment sites, as they tend to offer limited participatory communication (more often it is just one person speaking his or her mind about certain issues), but provide plenty content – and comment on content. Examples to further explain these kind of sites are Nairaland.com and lindaikeji.blogspot.com which offers news and information with external links to take you to other websites for more and detailed information.
Meta & Comment sites: This third category of news sites are sites about news media and media issues in general; sometimes intended as media watchdogs (Media channel, Freedom forum, Poynter’s Medianews, E&P’s E-Media Tidbits; see Pavlik and Powell, 2001), sometimes intended as an extended index & category site (European Journalism Center Media news, Europe media to name two European examples). Editorial content is often produced by a variety of journalists and basically discusses other content found elsewhere on the Internet. Such content is discussed in terms of the underlying media production processes. This ‘journalism about journalism’ or meta-journalism particularly flourishes online. In this respect the Internet has contributed to the further professionalization of journalism in general, as the ability and willingness to publicly reflect on itself and be self-critical is generally seen as one of the defining characteristics of a profession (Beam, 1990; Boylan, 2000).
Share & Discussion sites: As noted earlier, the critical distinction made in our model is between content and connectivity. Odlyzko (2001) in particular argues, that the first and foremost reason for success of new media technologies like the Internet and the World Wide Web is the fact that people want to connect with other people on a boundless global level (see also Rushkoff, 1997). In other words: it is ‘just’ a communications infrastructure (Rushkoff, 2000). Online journalism as the fourth type of journalism online utilizes this potential of the Internet in that it primarily facilitates platforms for the exchange of ideas, stories and so on, sometimes centered around a specific theme such as world-wide anti-globalization activism (Independent Media Centers, generally known as: Indymedia) or computer news (Slashdot, featuring a tagline reading: News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters ). Several sites have opted to commercially exploit this public demand for connectivity, by organizing more or less edited platforms for discussion of content elsewhere on the Net ( Plastic, Nerve, Feed). This type of online journalism has also been described as ‘group weblogs’, offering personal accounts of a more or less unlimited number of individuals about their experiences on the Internet (Lasica, 2001). Examples of this kind of sites cold still include nairaland.com, xdadevelopers.com and so on. Note that you have to register and log into this sites before you could become eligible to participate in discussions on this sites.
It is also important to note that all the above mentioned online journalism news sites are exhaustive. This is because, looking at the various kinds of news sites/websites on the internet, it would be discovered that the above mentioned types/categories of online journalism news sites is all encompassing and there is not a single site on the internet that does not fall into one of the above mentioned news sites. It is also important to note that while some news sites may fall into one of the above mentioned types of sites, others may belong to more than one of them, depending on its service delivery, mission and goals. It is therefore safe to say that the above mentioned types of online journalism news sites are exhaustive.
Dueze M., (2003) The Web and its Journalism. Sage Publications, London. Vol. 5(2) 203-230.
Mcom 414 lecture notes