Online journalism

Calling television a superficial medium, the importance of looking presentable even charming, a voice with a tonal quality suited for television and being comfortable with the camera and crowds are other notable qualities. Initially it feels strange making conversation with an inanimate camera. Also, you only get so many seconds, at the most minutes to speak, so it is important to be crisp clear and confident. Sometimes, on the field, a crowd surrounds you. At such it’s important not to get conscious. Fine tuned observation an institutional memory and uninhibited questioning are also excellent means of securing fresh story ideas to draw in the viewer. During Sanjay Dutt’s trial for the ’93 bomb blasts, everyone had only so much footage. But one reporter observed that the actor always wore shirt to court. It turned out that blue was his lucky color – the reporter had provided a new angle to the story.

Owing to the more demanding job profile broadcast pays better than print. The figure is put between 22 to 25,000 rupees for starters.

Commenting on future prospects, new comers are advised to first determine whether they want to work before or behind the camera. While the former comprises on-field reporters and news anchors, the latter comprises camera persons and editors among others. Promotions depend on one’s skill and if some one shows exceptional talent, then promotions do not take long. The new comers who enter a broadcast newsroom with sights on instant name and fame are in for a rude shock. It’s a tough vocation and one must enter knowing the ground realities fully well.

Online Journalism came to India with the launch of the Internet on August 15, 1995. Soon there were websites dishing the news and in ’97 the first major English daily went online. As such, online journalism implies either working for a web-only publication of the online edition of traditional media like print publications or TV channels. An online newsroom typically operates on a content management system through which matter is published online. Like other media, it also employs editors, reporters and artists to work on the content. However, the team size is generally smaller.

There are various post graduate programs in online journalism which help in initiating students to the new medium and its requirements.

Online journalism requires a crisp writing style that expresses an idea in fewer words. Also, one needs to visualize the story as it would appear on the web. The web is a non linear medium and the reading habits online are different. As such, reporters need to facilitate easier disbursal of content.

Being a multi-platform media, online journalists can use a verity of features to enhance their stories. Online one can use spacing, fonts, images podcasts and videos to enable a richer reading experience. However, new media journalists need not have high technical skill. Even in online media, the reporter report while others generate videos, graphics and the like.

The pay scale for online journalism varies from portal to portal. However, the average figure is put at rupees 10,000 for beginners.

New media offers prospects of quicker promotions and increasing pay. However; online journalism is still developing in India and doesn’t enjoy the popularity of the more established, traditional media. Sustainable revenue models are a major challenge. If an organization employs people to work on a portal, the product should make enough money to cover its cost. However, advertising revenue online is not as much. Also, the subscription model hasn’t been very successful. Nevertheless the future is optimistic. While the increasing internet penetration in India will mean that advertisers can no longer neglect the media. Upcoming mobile technologies will also prove beneficial.

Like any other creative vocation, the catch phrase in journalism is ‘passion’ – the zeal for telling stories, in the best way possible, each day of your life. There is a mountain of hard work, but in scaling its heights, one is exposed to new people and experiences. At the end of day, it’s about the unadulterated happiness you derive when you see your story before people.