Journalists: Is it time to be universal?

New media technologies are blurring the once solid division between radio, TV and print journalists. Instead, the figure a universal reporter is slowly emerging. From March 24 to 27, Internews organized a four-day training on this subject for KTRK website department staff, led by Internews journalist and web-editor Aizatbek Beshov.

“Today, it is not enough to be an excellent radio or TV reporter,” started Aizatbek Beshov. “Today, new technologies are giving us the chance to express ourselves on new platforms. And we need to go there, where the audience is.”

In the last decade, journalism has without doubt shifted to the Internet. This is why the training was focused on online writing and adapting radio or TV stories to the web.

“The average online reader is cranky: if the text is not “catchy” or has “too many letters”, he goes to another site. This is why web editing requires simple language, and bright passages, to keep the reader captivated and in place,” explained Aizatbek Beshov.

According to the participants, the chosen theme was “actual” and the knowledge received important for their daily work.

“I found the training interesting, because our trainer tried to show the difference between radio, TV and web content. He taught us how to adequately adapt stories and info for the preparation of news reports, how to put headers and highlights – in brief, how to make a “dry” text into readable, interesting news,” commented KTRK website department deputy director Nurzat Niazova.

Here are some recommendations for web-journalists that were presented during the training:

  • The title is already half of your success: it must be concise, clear, understandable, but intriguing. But do not over do it, or you will fall in “yellow journalism”
  • Facts are more important than analysis: remember that the journalist is not here to tell the truth. His task is simply to give the facts. Taking sides is also important, but you should leave that for the reaction to the story you are writing.
  • Rule of the two sources: don’t forget that you must check and double check facts. In other words, you will not hear any criticism on the work of Santa Clause from his daughter because they are one team, one “company”.
  • A simple or clear lead: answer the traditional questions, or, even better, start with one of the 5Ws or H (what, when, where, who, why and how). For example: “Unusual heat has caused all ice cream to disappear from store displays”. We immediately start with the question “why?”
  • A simple text, with few numbers and unknown abbreviations. The text should be broken down into clear, logic paragraphs: this will make it easier for online users to read it.
  • Use sharp quotes and bring them forward. It will be easier to notice them and remember them.
  • Dress up your text but make it appropriate. If you talk about a fight in the Parliament, post the most adequate photo of the fight.

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