#22 International Journalism Festival 2009

Network journalism: Dinner with your readers?

You have to face it: It is not enough to be educated, to speak and to ask good questions. You need to have many different skills to be part of the media society of the 21st century. The news race is huge. So collect a team of your readers you can work together with!

“There are no more readers – there are participants of the process! The audience has tongue and is able to use it”, said Antonio Sofi, blogger and new media commenter. The journalist is not a superman and thus doesn’t know everything. You may not be familiar with both medicine and the wars from the last century in Africa. But you might have readers among doctors, historians, lawyers and sociologists. „Set a subject in an interesting and provocative way and you can get many feedbacks to find the truth. Write incomplete articles and let the audience fill them in! The conversation is basically more interesting than the topic!”, said Sofi as an advice on the method of using one’s “spider net”. Use Twitter, Flicker, Facebook, blogs – possibilities are endless. Make the average person send you the picture immediately after he has taken it with his mobile phone – it would provide a wider prospective of the case.

The process
“One of the aim of the online edition of Business Week is to enlarge user engagement. The journalist has an input and gets replies trough the comments posted. Now the average rate of the articles and comments is 1:30. Our aim is to reach the rate of 1:100”, said John Byrne, editor of Business Week Online. „Make a dialogue with the reader! Some weeks ago I had a nice dinner with some of my readers, who help me in my work by posting comments to my articles. Some of them may become a guest columnist – I thanked them for being so active.”

Want be a journalist? Blog!
The journalists have to face the changing technology which also changes the way of working, both for expert journalists and beginners. The journalist has to be more of a community editor, according to John Byrne. He or she should ask the audience what should he or she should write about. Business Week Online already does it. Ask for help from the readers and make conversation – moderate and edit it! The product of the conversation is the article, which is also the process. The true can be lost in the huge mass of information – that’s why it is important to manage and understand the comments and to integrate them in your article.

According to the blogger and journalist Antonnella Beccaria the way to go in order to become a journalist nowadays is to make a blog. “Don’t be afraid of the others’ opinion. They might tell it in your face, but you have to live with it. That’s why community knowledge can be true (for example Wikipedia.org), users can judge each other. Post a video, refer to the other bloggers’ stories, create something new! If you do your job well, it can be paid, it depends on you”, concluded Antonnella Beccaria.

“Train yourself if you want to be a journalist: make a blog and be open-minded. Create a conversation, create a community!”. This is the advice that the editor of Business Week Online gave to the young aspiring journalism students.

Posted in | 02.04.2009

By: Zsuzsa Szabó

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