Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hmmm ... They could call it 'Immedia'

Our local SPJ chapter presented a panel Saturday on "immediate media" featuring freelance journalist and educator Afi Odelia Scruggs, CoolCleveland.com Managing Editor Peter Chakerian and Plain Dealer pop music critic John Soeder.

They told of how they have moved from their print origins to experiment with blogging, online social networking and multimedia in plying their trade.

Clearly, "backpack" journalism is both an opportunity and a challenge. It offers new outlets to writers constrained by limited column inches but it also challenges them. (Have you ever tried to cover a story by taking thorough notes while capturing good images and good audio?) Even more of a dilemma is that, as they make their online product more robust, they may be making their print product superfluous.

Ideally, they will use the immediacy and multimedia capabilities of the web to highlight the story, but recommend reading it in the publication. Conversely, in the publication they will alert readers to soundbites, slide shows and other forms that can only be provided online.

Why post entire articles online when most agree we don't read online? Sure, you could still post a long, background-filled piece on the web, but make it a link.

Use each medium to complement, not compete with, the other.


Speaking of online, I've noticed that the terms webcast and podcast often are used interchangebly. My understanding is that a webcast refers to a program presented live on a website, often with an interactive component. A podcast is something you download for your mp3 player. If you click on something that immediately launches audio or video, that's streaming media.

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