Larry Dailey, Professor, Reynolds Chair in Media Technology, Donald A. Reynolds
-What is the role of journalism?
Journalism is a little bit of everything. At its core it is about communicating, connecting and informing. It is about sharing, inviting and provoking. News organizations need to learn how to communicate with the community better. Just as journalists communicate with their sources, journalists need to learn to have a dialog with those reading their articles and visiting their Web sites. Ask readers what they think? Really listen to their opinion and engage in a conversation with them. If people take the time to read and comment on an article, the least a reporter can do is listen to what they have to say and respond. Interact with the audience. Engage with those reading your paper.
“Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under differing conditions.” Mark Twain
“We reject the somewhat Calvinistic notion that serious and virtuous activities cannot be ‘fun.’” Clark Abt
Journalists will need to change their culture, said Dailey. “They are going to have to make some tough decisions.”
Change is never easy and venturing into the unknown is quite intimidating; however, the life of journalism depends upon change and the ability to reach out and represent new audiences. I think newspapers and television stations find comfort zones that they fear leaving, but I wonder what they have to lose. More people are tuning out instead of in. Find a way to bring people back in and don’t let technology stand in your way. Of course, this is easier said than done. But we need to be at least thinking about change.
-Journalists are routine driven
-Most newsrooms have little tradition of change management (for a long time we didn’t have to care about what was happening with the audiences, said Dailey, but now we need to.)
Don Wittekind, Assistant Professor, Visual Communications, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Just what is interactivity?
-Newspapers often use this just as a general term to describe web sites.
-To most newspapers, interactivity is about: reading menus, making selections and pushing buttons with a mouse.
Wittekind prefers the following definitions of interactivity:
1. (Better definition) Programs or applications that respond directly to the user
2. (Best definition) Implication that a user of software can exert some control over software and not just be a passive page-turner recipient.
Interact=being a part of the activity, being able to get involved directly. Just because someone reads something online, this doesn’t mean they are interacting with your organization.
News organizations should be working to create interaction.
Interactivity takes many forms: calculators, database applications, experience simulators
Interactivity is what makes the web unique. It separates the web from other forms of media. It is what makes the web unique. We can use interactivity to allow the reader to explore a complex subject and see possible outcomes.
“It’s okay to have a little fun,” said Wittekind. I completely agree.
Perhaps the news needs to lighten up a bit and stop taking itself so seriously. Covering the world is serious business. Journalists have a tough job, as they often find themselves covering stories about death, disease, poverty, racism, depression and political corruption. While sometimes the nature of journalism tends to be grim, it is up to news organizations to find a fresh way to make these stories attractive. By attractive, I am not saying we need to gloss up the situation in Iraq with a bunch of special effects or a snazzy background, but why not find a way to make the community care about these stories through blogs, links, interactive maps, photo stories, videos, etc. News organizations need to find a way to use the Internet as a tool to promote discussion.
As Wittekind just said, “visuals bring people in.” Therefore, why not incorporate more visuals with stories that tend to have less traffic.
- Amy Gahran
By Amy Gahran, 03/04/08 at 7:06 am
Today, Journalism has become something entirely different from what it was a few years back. Much of the people back in those days considered Journalism as something dangerous and risky. If we look into now, many students at a young age itself say that they want to become journalists and we can find this passion of theirs being later pursued by them. I think the role that journalism play in our society now is what that makes it very remarkable!
By maid, 12/25/10 at 7:29 pm
The existence of journalism is very important. Through journalism we are informed of the current events and issues of the society. Journalism comes in many form can be written, oral, photojournalism or a documentary one. I think the most important role of journalism is to inform the public the TRUTH.
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