Story Telling and Digital Journalism

The Rise and Risks of Internet News

The growth of the the internet and the subsequent decline of print media has changed the way we get our news. Greater accessibility and more specialized content providers have made the internet the easiest way for consumers to get information. Strong internet journalism seems to have been on the decline as of late. With more and more opportunities for everyone to become their own source of news,  the need for quality is paramount.

Quality Content

When writing online you become the journalist, the writer/reporter, the editor, and the publisher. For example, when writing this post I had to research my points, write a compelling blog post, edit it, and post it. My background is in Political Science so the majority of what I research and write is very academic in nature and very focused on stating facts and backing up an argument. Chapter 8 of “Writing and Editing for Digital Media,” by Brian Carroll provides some great tips to think about while producing quality content. As someone that is new to writing in a journalistic context, I have found these to be extremely helpful.

(click for source)

Here they are:

  1. Get up, go out, and get the information you need. The sit on your butt and write about it. Do this daily.
  2. Do not be obscure!
  3. Show the audience, don’t just tell them.
  4. Challenge every adverb and adjective you see in your research.
  5. Edit the first paragraph extensively. Delete it and redo it if you must.
  6. Do the same for your last paragraph.
  7. Do not be super artsy, write with the intent of creating meaning not a picture.
  8. Challenge every exclamation point.
  9. Challenge every verb “to be.”
  10. Circle all verbs and decide if they are the correct ones.
  11. Be cautious of words you often use, and make sure if used, that they are in context.
  12. Read all of your drafts allowed, and continuously proof read.
  13. Writing assignments are never finished until the due date, despite what you may believe.

At first did not understand point number 7. I asked my self, “how can I only focus on being direct when writing?” I then released that Carroll is not saying write like robots, but be simplistic in approach.

Using the Crowd

This is a concept I had not thought of when looking for content. Crowd sourcing is a method of gathering content through videos, statements, photos, and other forms of audience/user produced media. Carroll points out that CNN created iReport  (ireport.cnn.com), a site were individual contributors separate from CNN report on issues. This crowd-sourced model provides CNN with content without having to pay for it. Contributors are motivated by publicity rather than money.

Here is a youtube video that explains a similar application of this concept:

 


magic open book of fantasy stories
(click for source)

Storytelling

When reading chapter 9 of “Writing for the Web” by Lynda Fedler I became more aware of the importance of backstory and conflict in storytelling. If these things are not there, then why should the reader care. Every blog post is a type of story. Even my multimedia project, being more of an informative one, is still telling a story. With a combination of my personal voice and that of the other students (getting students personal stories about their cars – crowd-sourcing), I will need to find a way to implement both of these aspects into my posts.

In the reading from Brian Carroll, I learned that my multimedia project will likely use a thematic approach to story telling. Telling a story about students and their cars, by dividing it into individual pieces.

400px-inverted_pyramid_2-svg
The inverse pyramid of journalism/storytelling. (click for source)
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