Writing for Media Session #6“Writing for Web Journalism” UCSD Extension Spring 2012
News via Web• Up to the minute info at our ﬁngertips• Experience events as they happen and allow us to respond• Get immediate news anytime/anywhere (mobile)• Name 2 big news items that overwhelmed the web in the last year?
Web Characteristics• Immediacy (post in seconds or live stream)• Flexibility (text, photos, video, feeds, etc.)• Permanency (info is there forever)• Capacity (store in the cloud, any format)• Interactivity (social media, links)• Mobility (info anytime/anywhere)
Warp Speed Journalism• Post immediately (instead of waiting for press time or broadcast)• Real-time events covered (live stream)• Real expectation of audience now• Must use different tools: video, photos
News Websites• Lowered barrier to get into news biz• Need to post latest and unique info• Users know where to go (habit)• Google, CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg, Hufﬁngton, WSJ, Reuters, AP, etc.• Where do you go?
Blog• Usually independent of large orgs• Millions of them• Accurate? Credible? Reliable?• Require time to maintain (lots of it)• Commenting (creates conversation)• What news blogs do you read?
Social Media• Joining networks and groups• Gather “friends,” “followers,” “connections”• Post links to info for colleagues• Post your stuff for your audience• Respond and comment to posts• What do you do?
Twitter and the News• What’s the point of your tweet?• Information (better than opinion)• One or two points (no more space)• Think: subjects/verbs (complete thoughts)• Emphasize verbs (active, descriptive)• “To be” verbs understood (don’t mention)
Twitter and the News (cont.)• Drop articles (a, an, the)• Punctuate for clarity• AP Style (sometimes helps w/ brevity)• Abbreviations (only if followers know)• Direct tweets to individual followers• Ask questions (and you shall receive)• Respect: honesty, courtesy, modesty, etc.
Mobile Journalism• 6.6 billion people, 3.3 billion cell phones• 60% take cell phone to bed• iPhone changed everything (what?)• Mobile fastest communication• Info now must ﬁt mobile devices• What do you use your cell phone for?
Audience Demands• Speed (website load and respond quickly)• Visual logic (easy to ﬁgure out fast)• Simple organization and navigation• Depth (needs to contain enough info)• News (present new and updated info)• What do you demand of a website?
Characteristics of Web Writing• Accuracy• Clarity• Efﬁciency• Precision
Backpack Journalism• Understand word processing software• Understand email, texting, DM, IM. etc.• Understand photography and photo editing• Understand presentation of story• Understand video and audio
Lateral Reporting• Links (add interactivity and depth)• Background, details, lists (can use on Web)• Pictures (pics can be used extensively)• Graphics (illustrate content)• Maps (we like to know where things are)
Lateral Reporting (cont.)• Documents (support story)• Audio and video clips (enrich story)• E-polls (online surveys, easy to do)• Comments and discussion forums (add interactivity, conversation)
Web Packages• Strong unifying theme• Straightforward and rich headline• Visually logic and understandable design• Labels, headlines, subheads accurate• Concise and compelling content
The Future• Web is dominant means for news• Advertising needs to be more useful• Non-proﬁts assistance for journalists• What else do you see happening?