The Internet Manifesto

The translated version of the Internet Manifesto by a group of German journalists spells out in 17 clear, concise statements the problems journalists face today with relation to the online world, why newsrooms need to act now or risk being left behind and why many are failing to use the internet to increase their potential readership.

The manifesto hits the nail on head when asking these questions but the main flaw, as Alison Gow has highlighted in her response, is the fact that it is online. The whole point of the manifesto is to tackle the reasons why newsrooms aren’t being more interactive but it seems to be preaching to the converted. The main audience it should be addressing is newsrooms who aren’t web savvy – and therefore should be printed out and sent to these (if the journalists at such papers are willing to read it.)

A key point from the manifesto that should be followed up by journalists is this: “The media must adapt their work methods to today’s technological reality instead of ignoring or challenging it.” The only way to succeed in these uncertain times is to “understand the life world of today’s users and embrace their forms of communication.” Starting conversation with the public through social networking sites, blogs or twitter is the only way to tap into and connect with this huge audience.

Gow says journalists (of all levels) are using excuses like money or work load to avoid internet journalism.  I think the online world can be daunting to journalists unfamiliar with it but a high workload comes with the job the only way anyone can survive and succeed today is to want to know more about it. Interactive stories are much more accessible than the plain text format version as Gow confirms: “30 seconds of footage of a fire is more interesting/valuable to an online audience than two paragraphs describing flames and smoke.”

Gow states: “digital journalism is just publishing instantly, instead of waiting for a press to start rolling.” Journalists of all levels need to embrace online journalism and learn everything they can about it to be able to exist in this world.

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