Journalists and Online Media: the engagement of journalists in creating new forms of media content, presentation and service to publics; a case study approach and reflection on practice

Duffield, Lee R. (2007) Journalists and Online Media: the engagement of journalists in creating new forms of media content, presentation and service to publics; a case study approach and reflection on practice. In Papandrea, Franco & Armstrong, Mark (Eds.) Communications Policy and Research Forum, 24-25 September 2007, University of Technology of Sydney.


The paper examines the translation of journalism as it has been known into new media forms, principally its contribution to content-making for online services. It rests on the significance of content: what media are available to carry certain content; what content is being summoned up by certain media? The paper is in two parts: First, it reviews an explosion of activity in the online journalism field; it notes adaptation and innovation which this movement has produced, and considers future possibilities. Second, it provides a case study based on an online service launched by the author, in the context of findings made by the above review, illustrating aspects of it.

A movement has taken hold among journalists internationally to exploit the possibilities of online publishing. News organisations have come forward to position themselves among leading providers of online services, and apart from that, practising journalists as individuals and in groups have taken up the new medium in novel ways. A survey of activity based in Journalism schools, research centres and professional associations reveals widespread reflective work under way, on craft issues (developments in how to write, illustrate, represent using this medium); on economics and resources of online publishing; adaptation to different types of online media; ethics, and reporting practices. Content issues arise: Online media through making new markets generate more specialised and creative journalistic work, both in terms of what information appears and how that information is worked into the fabric of the presentation.

Within the professional cadre of journalism, corporate employees and independent journalists mix. Many business models are entrepreneurial and individual. The weblog format is well suited to journalists, often older ones ("immigrants") with established reputations and independent means. Journalists among others working on online products, usually younger ("natives"), in both corporate and entrepreneurial settings, continue to achieve new levels of sophisticated presentation and delivery. Current practice should provide a useful lead for future developments, with partnerships or cooperatives, part-time, semi-professional and non-professional journalism, and development journalism.

In a case study the author recounts setting up an online service that provides specialised international news, as a reflection on practice. The case study traces conceptualisation of the service, funding, and construction of a website using modified “blog” software. It recounts the development of a journalistic modus operandi and style, experience of ten months’ operations, and accumulation of an audience. It will describe the project as being in various essentials, an example of independent journalistic exercises around the world. It will especially look at content issues – surveillance, selection of material, writing, matters of presentation and illustration.

Taking a segmented approach to proliferating new media, by looking at the contribution of journalism-in-place, narrows down the field of inquiry and makes it manageable. It helps with an understanding of certain central questions: what is the relationship between media formats and content; what familiar contents material is being accommodated; what new content is being induced by the nature of the media? It should add to understanding of new media in mass communication generally.

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ID Code: 10383
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the publisher’s web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Online Journalism, International News, EUAustralia
ISBN: 9780980434408
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > JOURNALISM AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING (190300) > Journalism Studies (190301)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Network Insight Pty Ltd and Lee R. Duffield
Deposited On: 25 Oct 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:41

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