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Teamwork makes journalism happen — this is doubly, triply true for online journalism. In the 24-7 world of continual updates, you don’t just pass stories on down the chain until they land on the press as ink applied to paper, or go to air.
Journalists with different skill sets must work together to produce great online journalism. Sure, there are some people who can do it all. But even those who can usually don’t. Even Kevin Sites had behind him while he hopped from one Hot Zone to another.
recommends a three-person team:
- One person to do the word reporting (writing and audio).
- One to do visual reporting (photos and video).
- One to do design, infographics and programming — not only presentation, mind you, but also the graphic reporting.
It’s not exactly clear who would do the audio and video editing if there really were only three people. Maybe the audio gatherer would edit the audio, and the video shooter would edit the video.
At the in South Carolina, they advocate training for four key newsroom roles:
- The news-flow editor determines platforms on which stories will appear and coordinates the work.
- The storybuilder works across media platforms on a story and envisions which assets will be needed to complete the story.
- The multiskilled journalist produces video, photographs, audio and/or written copy; functions as a backpack journalist.
- The news resourcer is an information specialist who participates in storybuilding and searches out material to be used in stories, as well as external resources to be linked.
The news resourcer position seems like a good idea, if the news operation is big enough to support it. It’s cool if this person can do graphics research — always necessary for bigger packages.
The plan for a mojo (mobile journalist) to be responsible for all reporting in all media has met with some criticism. I also think this scheme doesn’t do justice to the importance of information design and information graphics in online media.
The key here is recognizing that one person alone is not going to start the story — or finish it. To get from the reporting to the Web site calls for at least two people in probably 90 percent of cases where the story is anything beyond plain text. That story will be better and stronger if two or more journalists make sure the story gets to reach its digital, online, multimedia potential.
And somebody in the mix has got to understand design!
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