Essays and Commentary

Why readers prefer online

Essays and Commentary, General News
On the second day of the war, traffic at top news Web sites grew by nearly 80 percent, according to ComScore Media Metrix. The Washington Post reports that many have turned to the Internet for information to have more control over what they see: "I think I prefer the online, because you can regulate it," said Ilona Arnold-Berkovits, 31, of Washington. "You can read the headlines and decide what to read." Co-worker Barbara Holton, 50, of Washington, said, "You can pick and choose what you expose yourself to."

The Power of Blogs

Essays and Commentary, The Weblog Blog
Would former Senate majority leader Trent Lott's endorsement of Thurmond's 1948 pro-segregation platform have become such a big story and led to his resignation if blogger Joshua Micah Marshall hadn't reported it and excoriated the media for ignoring it? Instapundit and blogger Glenn Reynolds, who linked to Marshall's scoop, said, "Several big journalists told me they first heard the [Lott] story from my site, and that they probably wouldn't have thought it was important if I hadn't given it so much attention." But the Lott story could have percolated without him, he told The Baltimore Sun, because some black Republicans were already fuming over the comments. "Like most such things," he said, "how much power the blogs wield is hard to determine." Reynolds said , even blogs like ...

'We Media' and Interview Voyeurism

Essays and Commentary, Innovation, Online News and Convergence Tips, Online Reporting Tips, The Weblog Blog, Tips and Tools
Thanks to the Internet, Journalism is becoming less of a one-way street from reporters to readers and more of a dialogue. Two recent journalism review articles explore this phenomenon. "We Media augments traditional methods with new and yet-to-be invented collaboration tools ranging from e-mail to Web logs to digital video to peer-to-peer systems," writes Dan Gillmor in the Columbia Journalism Review. "But it boils down to something simple: our readers collectively know more than we do, and they don?t have to settle for half-baked coverage when they can come into the kitchen themselves." Meanwhile, in the American Journalism Review Barb Palser talks about writers posting complete interviews online and writes, "We are learning that people often are as interested in the ingredients of a news...

Personalized weather on the Web

Essays and Commentary, Great Ideas, Great Interactive Storytelling, Great Work Gallery, Innovation
What can be done with weather content online far surpasses what even the most ambitious meteorologist-editor-designer team can devise for the printed page, Steve Outing says. Newspaper sites like the Star Tribune's in Minneapolis offer "My-Cast," a personalized weather service developed by a local meteorologist and his company, Digital Cyclone. "What makes My-Cast special is its ability to pare weather data down to the neighborhood level. One My-Cast feature lets the website user type in a home address, then receive a personalized weather forecast, neighborhood-specific heavy-weather alerts, and maps with the user-defined address at the center. (Users can even set up multiple addresses.) The service uses weather data that is specific down to an area of about 4 miles square -- smaller than ...

Content is King

Essays and Commentary, Online News and Convergence Tips, Resources, Special Features, Tips and Tools
As administrator of the Online Journalism Awards, Columbia University professor Sreenath Sreenivasan has learned some valuable lessons about what makes the best online journalism. Among them: Size matters; "bells and whistles" don't. Check out his full list of nine lessons -- a good primer before entering this year's contest. (Reminder: Deadline is July 16.) Continue reading...