Journalism, by definition, is both a product and process. As a product, people purchase news and by doing so, it becomes a commodity. As a process, people gather information for the purpose of publishing it for others. (
Adam (1993), defined journalism as a form of expression used to report and comment in the public media on events and ideas, a product of individual journalists and the culture in which they work, always marked by five “principles of design”. Journalism has been around “since people recognized a need to share information about themselves with others” (Zelizer, 2004, p. 2). However, the study of journalism is a more recent phenomenon. There are several reasons why the study of journalism is a worthwhile endeavor for scholars. First, news shapes the way we see the world, ourselves and each other. It is the stories of journalists that construct and maintain our shared realities (cf. Carey, 1989). Because of this, news can become a singularly important form of social glue; our consumption of stories about current events large and small binds us together in an “imagined community” (Anderson, 1983) of co-readers. Through the rituals of consuming and discussing the texts of journalism we come to understand and construct ourselves as subjects within local, national and, increasingly, global contexts.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word “journalism” as: “the profession of reporting or photographing or editing news stories for one of the media.” The interesting thing about this description is that it does not specify any one type of media. And that is perfectly suitable to our world of journalism today. People have several different outlets in which to gain their information. Not only is news prevalent in traditional forms of journalism, such as print and broadcast, but it is also becoming more and more mainstream in the world of online journalism.  (
When discussing online journalism, it is important to realize just how significant of a role it plays in our society today. The most common form of online journalism is probably reflected in the “Blogosphere”—a world of several different news stories, graphics, and links, all compiled into what is known as a “Weblog,” or, what it’s come to be known as, a “blog.” Such a seemingly informal style of writing may not appear to be all that appealing to the general public. Why would someone spend their time going online and searching for different news stories when they could gain the same type of information simply by opening their morning newspaper or turning on the local television news station? However, the world of blogging is actually a lot more popular than one might think.
Although many people find blogs interesting and even amusing to read, not everyone finds them as credible as traditional forms of journalism. There are a few reasons for this. Perhaps the most significant reason would be that many people simply don’t trust the actual content found in online journalism.  (Terry Lee, 2007)
Aside from lack of originality, an even bigger concern is the issue of the credibility of the content itself. When you read a story in the newspaper or watch it on television, the information you see and hear is usually very accurate. However, when you obtain your news through online journalism, the same be said for its trustworthiness. Many people do not think so. One reason for this is that with online journalism, practically anyone can author a so-called “news” story. In this form of journalism, you don’t have the reassurance that a well-known newspaper reporter or broadcast journalist is relaying you factual, reliable information. You have to determine if the person writing the blog is deemed a credible author or not. If you think about it, pretty much anyone could be writing it. Online%20vs.%20Traditional%20Journalism.html
The major similarity that both online and traditional journalism have is that they both report the news. However, Melissa states and provides key examples of how the two are adversely different. In the first topic of ethics, she gives an example that accuracy has diminished as more and more online journalists want to “get the scoop first”, or get the news first. There isn’t much of a big distinguishable factor between traditional or online in the timeliness versus accuracy debate.
The main difference is certainly that traditional journalists still have to get their facts straight as opposed to online, in which they don’t have any real consequence as stated in above website. Even then this isn’t much different from sensational journalism during the whole Hearst and Pulitzer era. Another key difference stated was that online journalists are not considered to be actually journalists, mostly blogging and self-opinions. Melissa provided an example in which online journalists tend to be biased because due to the lack of objectivity.  (

Another major difference is the medium used for information dissemination. Traditional journalism disseminates information through printed materials, such as the newspapers, and other broadcasting equipment like the television and radio.  Online journalism, on the other hand, has its articles published in the internet. For online journalism, the writer or journalist writes his articles on his web log (blog).  Some online journalists are writers not employed in any media company.  Some online journalists also do not gain any profit from their articles. Being unemployed, they do not have any deadlines to beat when posting an article. The traditional journalist, on the other hand, writes his articles to be published in a newspaper.  Whether they are working as a freelance writer or under a media company, they get paid for their articles and have deadlines to beat.
The length of the articles posted also differs. In online journalism, the writer can write a lengthy article, while in traditional the writer has limited space for his article.
Also, in online journalism internet users only get to read news articles with a stable internet connection. While in traditional journalism, people get to be updated with the latest happenings without going online.
Today, writers and journalists can use multimedia elements for online journalism like as text, graphics, sound, motion picture, animation, video, 3D etc., but in traditional journalism they can’t do these types of practices.
In Online journalism, readers can comment or can give their feedback instantly on that particular article or some other write ups, but in traditional journalism, reader’s response is too delayed and limited reader’s comments are published in Traditional journalism.
In Online Journalism, information is regularly updated by minute to minute, as they happen. While on the other hand, in Traditional Journalism, it takes time, like as in newspaper, if something is happened after the publishing of that day’ newspaper, that happening will be published on the next day’ newspaper.
Other differences and similarities between online journalism and conventional journalism include;
Product centric perspective: The digital medium is one where content is totally interlinked with the product. Reporters at a newspaper are not really expected to know how a printing machine operates! But in the digital space, content teams are expected to have knowledge about how search-engines work, be receptive towards trending-topics, drive the site’s interactive elements, use multimedia tools for better packaging and in generally be aware of what goes into the management of the site. While a print journalist will focus more on the language while framing a headline, a digital media person will think in terms of keywords, trending topics and ease of discovery for the user.  b. Writing style: Given that digital-content today is not only consumed on the computer, but across multiple platforms, writers are conscious about attention spans. While a print journalist may take pride over an elaborate article that spans over pages; in digital, brevity is the name of the game. Writers are conscious of the fact that their stories are being read on screens smaller than five-inches. Some of the crafty expressions that would be a pleasure to read in print might not gel well with the digital consumer. Use of complicated phrases is also bad for content discovery, as the average user searches using terms from spoken English. For writers who switch from print to web, this is usually the biggest aspect they find hard to unlearn.  c. Feedback: The Internet is a ruthless medium and writers are usually not good at handling criticism. But due to the two-way nature of interaction on the web, online reporters are far more used to feedback, as compared to their print peers. Most online-writers begin as bloggers, so they have an appetite for making as well as digesting nasty comments. But amidst all this commenting-noise there is also space for healthy, constructive criticism. Web writers are accustomed to regular reality checks from users in case of errors or potentially polarising points of view. And due to this continuous stream of author-user interaction, web-writers are far more detached from their copy, flexible in style and less emotionally invested in their story.  d. Need for speed: Background research is of top priority to any good journalist. But online writers do not always have the luxury of time. In the era of phablets, digital teams have 24×7 access to their site. And page lineups change several times in response to trending topics. So content that may be ‘hot’ in the morning might be totally irrelevant by afternoon. This is why there are cases of irresponsible reporting, based on Twitter rumours, just to appear high on search. While basic rules of journalism do not change, content writers in the digital space have to have a strong sense of quality check, and constantly filter the information overload.  e. Convergence: Traditional media still has the advantage of infrastructure. Digital has the power of speed and multimedia presentation. Unlike print, thinking purely in terms of text doesn’t work here. So whether it is using a video from a TV bulletin or a slideshow of images, they all make for engaging tools to hook the reader, and provide a complete audio-visual experience. The packaging and aesthetics of the content are of supreme importance and digital journalists think of this aspect very seriously, while planning and publishing their story.  f. User Generated Content: The Internet exposes journalists to a plethora of user-generated content. At a time when camera-phones and social-media have made citizen journalism a reality, reporters have to pay attention to the voice of the reader. News websites cannot ignore viral content. A print journalist may wait for viral content to become a rage, before considering it for a story – But the online counterpart has to identify a trend way in advance, and sense its viral potential much before mainstream media. If print journalists have to be alert about the world around them, the ones on the web have to be in touch with the sentiment of the online community, which can often be very unique from the real-world-view.  g. Way forward: Given the dynamic mature of the medium, and real-time access to analytics, content writers have to keep an eye on the performance of their story, and make tweaks based on traffic rankings and search results. These digital media reporters have earned their stripes in the age of social-media, where headlines are driven by trending hash-tags. And the speed, at which you publish your story, is almost as important as the story itself. So while the Internet still reports the same facts as traditional media, the ones writing for the web care a lot more for user engagement than self-satisfying literary indulgence.  The digital journalist is a lot more in tune with what’s on people’s minds, and is perhaps more of an opinion moderator/aggregator rather than an opinion generator. News has become totally democratic and the digital medium is where journalists are truly talking to the people and not ‘at them’.
Print journalism, journalists have very limited space to operate with. It therefore means that articles, features and news stories have to be carefully written so that they do not cover much space. Very lengthy articles and stories are a no-go area for print journalism because of the limited space. Online journalism unlike print journalism has an infinite number of pages, which mean space is not an issue. This therefore means that articles and stories can be lengthy in nature since there is no page limit.
The problem of controlling news quality online stems from the inherent qualities of the Internet itself, where “the invitation to ‘be the media’, and thus to challenge traditional media’s definitions of what counted as ‘news’ as well as who qualified as a ‘journalist’, [is] very much consistent with the animating ethos of the Internet” (Allan, 2002). Such statements reveal the resistance of the traditional news media to the idea that “the content of the Web is news, though not necessarily journalism” (Jones, 2000).

The tension between traditional media journalism and online journalism is more of a conceptual than technological issue as traditional media journalism exhibits not an aversion to new technology but rather an attempt at a controlled incorporation of it. “What is at stake is how, not if, these new technological practices will be incorporated into journalistic practices” (Bratich, 2004: 110).
As the traditional news media have no real means of prohibiting online news sites from disseminating their material, their strategy has been to dissuade online news seekers from trusting the material found on those sites. By analysing the discourse surrounding online reporting, Jordan (2007) observed how the traditional news media used accusations of unprofessionalism and irresponsibility in their discussions of online news sites to discredit those sites. Even at the dawn of the twenty first century, many professional journalists in the traditional media remained skeptical of the Web’s value as a news resource.
News professionals lamented the quality of ideas found online and harshly criticized the lack of gate-keeping in online publishing. For example, Jordan (2007) found that broadcast journalists took pains to emphasise the care and concern of their own reporting methods even as they continued to promise increasing amounts of available information and urged their television viewers to go to their news Websites. The message being broadcast was that the mainstream press could be trusted to push all this information through to news seekers without compromising their own journalistic integrity and credibility. (
In a time where blogging is considered journalism and thousands of websites are being built daily; it seems that traditional journalism, may be in danger of becoming extinct. All forms of information are being sited on the internet; anyone with a computer can obtain the latest news on Google, which is updated almost down to the minute. So if online journalism is supposedly quicker, cheaper, and more convenient, the traditional journalist cannot survive except by just going with the flow and adapting their style of writing for an on line audience.
With the advent of the internet, a growing number of people have been reading the news and other happenings around the globe online. This actually serves as a threat to newspapers and its reporters, who practice traditional journalism. Online Journalism is an evolution; it’s even easier to get published online. However, it cannot replace the concreteness of print or traditional journalism practices etc. As long as print is making money traditional journalism is here to stay.

Adam, G. S. (1993). “Notes towards a definition of journalism: Understanding an old craft as an art form.” St. Petersburg, Florida: Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
Reprinted in: Adam, G. S., & Clark, R. P. (2006). Journalism: The democratic craft. New York: Oxford University Press.
Allan, S. (Ed.). (2005). Journalism: Critical issues. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Anderson, B. R. (1983). Imagined communities: Refl ections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso.
Carey, J. W. (1989). Communication as culture: Essays on media and society. New York: Routledge.
Carey, J. W. (2002). Foreword. In H. Hardt (Ed.), Social theories of the press(pp. ix–xiv). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Deuze, M. (2005). “What is journalism? Professional identity and ideology of journalists reconsidered.” Journalism 6(4), 442-464.
Getler, M., et. al. (2001): “The elements of journalism: Special issue. Niemen Reports.
Harrison, J. (2000). Terrestrial TV news in Britain: The culture of production. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Kunelius, R. (2006). Good journalism: On the evaluation criteria of some interested and experienced actors. Journalism Studies, 7(5)
Weber, J. (2007). The re-invention of journalism. Times Online, October 1, retrieved March 13, 2008, from

Wahl-Jorgensen, K. (in press). On the newsroom-centricity of journalism ethnography. In S. E. Bird (Ed.), Journalism and anthropology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Wahl-Jorgensen, K., & Franklin, B. (2008). Journalism research in Great Britain. In M. Löffelholz & D.
Weaver (Eds.), Global journalism research: Theories, methods, fi ndings, future (pp. 172–184). New York: Blackwell.
Zelizer, B. (2004). Taking journalism seriously:News and the academy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s