Writing and Digital Media  for journalists

Writing and Digital Media for journalists

I have a particular interest in Journalism and have focused my blog around the increasingly digital world of journalism. This class has helped me to explore and gain a better understanding of the increasingly digital world of journalism. There have been some major themes throughout the semester that I believe can be applied to online news stories. Now, more than ever it is important for journalists to be aware of the materials available to them and utilize them.

Useful Advice

Journalists need to stick to the facts and keep articles short and simple because online readers now skim instead of reading the whole page.
 William Zinsser: Keep it simple and avoid clutter. This is more important than ever when writing for the internet because there are so many distractions.

It is important to stick to certain learned cultural expectations.

Don Norman: Cultural constraints are learned conventions that are shared by a cultural group.

For example, in a story that includes an image but the text should stay the main focus, the picture should be medium to small and placed at the top to the right after the text. We expect to read from right to left and journalists should take advantage of this cultural constraint to maximize the effectiveness of their news stories.

Different materials equals a different approach. Writing for the internet is different because the materials are different; there is text, images, video, sound, hyperlinks, links, etc.

Anne Wysocki:

  • A need to focus on the specific materiality of the text we give each other

It is important to assemble the materials together to form a serial composition.

Geoffrey Sirc: Writing as a non-symbolic approach, focusing on the materials involved and their basic composition.

This class, Writing and Digital Media, was not designed specifically for journalists; one of the best things about this semester was the freedom to apply the techniques learned to a certain area of interest. The reason this class perfectly applied to journalism because journalism is currently transitioning into an all digital industry. Anyone that wants to pursue journalism as a career needs to understand how to write for digital media.


One thought on “Reflection

  1. Scott Reed says:

    A quick word on readability — I like what you did here, but since you’re coordinating a lot of pieces, clear design is critical.

    We need some way to break up the items in your “Useful Advice” section. One thing I’d recommend off the bat is to create a bullet list, handled consistently. (One area of inconsistency that hurts the readability is right at the start — there’s no line break from your opening bit and Zinsser. Take a space, or start your bullet list with “William Zinsser.”)

    Then, the ideas themselves get pretty loose. By the time we get to Anne Wysocki, I feel like we lost the thread. What “materials” are you referring to? And why put so much emphasis on “serial composition”? It’s not the only way, or even the best way — it’s just another option. I think a clearer move might have been to put Sirc first (you say basically the same thing about him — focus on materiality). That would free you up to redefine “serial composition” for journalism. If the idea is to focus on specific materiality, what specific materiality are you, as a journalist, thinking about at the moment?

    I’m glad you made the gesture of working on this, and I’m happy you’ve found something useful in these ideas — as abstract as they can be, they can be useful. Journalism isn’t made of (just) broadsheets and TV broadcasts, but tweets and iPhone pics. I hope you figure out how to make sense of it! (And if you haven’t yet, try your best to get into Dr. Sepulveda’s Basic News Writing in the Fall!)

    Week 9: 8/10
    Overall Design:: 4/5. Your blog theme has always been a strength (it’s stylish without being overbearing and readable without being bland), but see if you can leverage more juice out of the widgets on the left. “News Sites I Like” is a good idea, but relabel it — this blog isn’t about what you “like,” but about your mission as a journalist. Don’t come at it like a fan. As Hunter S. Thompson was fond of saying: “When the going gets tough, the tough turn pro.” Be a pro.

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