Posted by: arosieview | May 8, 2010

Time to say Goodbye

The time has come to say Goodbye :(. Keeping this blog has been a great idea and I have really enjoyed it. It has taught me so much about the importance of online journalism and the many great and not so great sites out there that embrace the web.

I’m going to leave you with this quote from Mark Coughlan that we included in our Presentation back in week 10. I think it sums up my own thoughts on the whole online journalism situation;

“The News media is becoming more like blogs. Blogs are becoming more like news media. The two fields are merging. It’s not about both dying, it’s about something better being born”

Posted by: arosieview | April 30, 2010

Importance of Headings

One aspect that this site has not dealt with is the importance of using short and concise headlines for websites.

One website sites the BBC as a good example of this

“The average headline consumed a mere 5 words and 34 characters…Each headline conveys the gist of the story on its own, without requiring you to click. Even better, each gives you a very good idea of what you’ll get if you do click and lets you judge — with a high degree of confidence — whether you’ll be interested in the full article. As a result, you won’t waste clicks. You’ll click through to exactly those news items you want to read.”

The short headings are concise and user friendly which allows for the reader to browse the website with ease. Contrast this to the Irish Independent which often uses very long headings that don’t appear to have been adapted from their print form.

As mentioned before on this blog, a good online newspaper is one that doesn’t think of itself as a digital newspaper. The use of more concise headlines that are not simply copied from the print edition of a paper but are adapted specifically for the website is certainly a characteristic that more websites need to embrace.

Posted by: arosieview | April 29, 2010

The Red Bulletin

Over on Niall Farrells blog he’s been talking about the Red Bulletin magazine free monthly with The Irish Independent.

I was amazed when I only recently discovered its amazing and innovative way of reading magazines online.

Niall Farrell says

“The magazine has pioneered “Print 2.0“, an innovative new way of reading magazines. The user waves the pages of the magazine in front of a webcam and the webcam reads a special code on the page. This then unlocks extra content such as videos and slideshows, not featured in the magazine or website.”

While its certainly not a publcation that would initially come to mind when thinking of innovation in the online sphere, it has proved that it should be just that. In time it will be interesting to see if many other publications follow this style.

Posted by: arosieview | April 29, 2010

The Importance of Hyperlinks

Just had a look at some of the group blogs there on Hyperlinking. It’s amazed me to realise how important hyperlinking is, yet when we think of websites and online journalism it’s not the first thing that comes to mind as being a vital component.

Over on Little Groups blog they looked at a reading called “Linked Out” by the Columbia Journalism Review “It says that the internet makes knowledge more accessible, and that the hyperlink is the building block to access this knowledge.”

They also list some of Robert Niles recommended components that make for good hyperlinking

“ – Does the URL to which I am referring the reader reward him or her with additional content that a reader of this story likely did not know, or know how to get easily?

– Does the text I am selecting to link this text give the reader an obvious clue as to what the hyperlinked page will contain?

– Am I using the shortest possible amount of text to provide that clue?

– Would the content of the linked text, or the context surrounding it, reasonably mislead the reader into believing that the linked page contains something other than what it does?”

Yet not Hyperlinking is not always good. While Some sites fail to use hyperlinks atall others overuse it to the point that it disrupts the readers flow of the piece in questions. The important thing is to find a happy medium between overuse and underuse. A couple of sites that I think do this are The Guardian and The Times.

CDA say that a good online newspaper doesn’t think of its self as digital and they site The Guardian as a good example of this

“In the end, what distinguishes the best from the rest is a clear commitment to the medium”

It has probably been said a thousand times at this stage, but The Guardian really does have an impressive website. I particularly like it’s Multimedia section, it stands out from the crowd. Mainly because of its innovative ideas, it’s not afraid to try something new it’s not afraid to embrace the online medium.

I particularly liked the interactivity of this sound map, and it’s not something I’ve seen on any other sites.

Then there’s a link to the TV and Radio section with reviews and discussions on an extensive number of programes. This is something that that could not be offered to the same degree via the medium of print.

When compared to other websites it becomes so clear how far ahead The Guardian is in terms of its online ability. The layout of its site has a fresh and fun feel to it which is one factor among many that makes it much more appealing to a wider audience.

As CDA said;

“A good online newspaper site is one that doesn’t think of its self as digital newspaper”

and The Guardian can certainly never be accused of doing so

Posted by: arosieview | April 28, 2010

The Farmers Journal

Time to be wowed by another website. This time it’s The Farmers Journal.

I’m very impressed by their website. They’ve got an It’s my journal section to discuss all their agricultural issues. Which as I’ve mentioned before, seem to be a huge hit.

Their multimedia section is also impressive. There are links to radio pieces relating to various stories, videos and blogs. As websites go I thought this one deserved a mention.

I also liked its Irish Farmers Journal Media adverts section in terms of it being something new and something I hadn’t done by online papers before.

It may not be the best online site out there but it is important to take into account its target market, a huge amount of rural people have scarce internet facilities and many areas of the country are still struggling with the old dial up system which makes using the internet near impossible in some cases. As a result The Farmers Journal still remains a big hit in its print form unlike many of the other papers out there. I thought that considering all this the website deserved a mention here.

Posted by: arosieview | April 28, 2010

The importance of user forums and discussion groups

User comment sections and forums are becoming a vital component of online newspaper sites. Users want to feel that their opinions are heard, that they have a voice and that their thoughts matter.

CDA found that

“Users demand an experience that is quite different to the passive consumption of print and traditional broadcast information” they want to feel involved.

Across the range, most of the various target markets want to have some level of involvement. A place they can go to discuss their opinions and air their views.

The Irish Independent is one example of a site that allows restricted user interactivity with stories. But I can understand its stance on this issue and moderation is a huge concern here but I do feel that over time more papers will have to higher people to act as some form of a user moderator.

There is a growing demand and expectation among users that they will be able to interact with almost each and every story they read. The Guardian is a good example of a site that allows this and I feel that it can add a whole new dimension to the online news experience.

The Sun have a My Sun section and a My Sun discussions forum with links to various topics. This seems like an excellent way to allow the public to express their opinions and it works really well for The Sun.

The Daily Mail also allows readers to comment on individual stories as does The Mirror.

If we take sites such as and we can see that users like to discuss events that are prominent in the news. That’s why as there is an increase in demand for this I can see more and more papers having to welcome the active reader with open arms.

Posted by: arosieview | April 16, 2010

The Finacial Times and

The Financial Times and are  two examples of good websites. On first glance the layout of both sites is very striking. has a link to podcasts and videos as well as a number of Blogs. They also make good use of hyperlinks and they have a link to their online print edition of Nature magazine which is very easy to navigate.

The Financial Times online also looks impressive, the only criticism I would have with it is that it’s not as clear and concise to look as There are numerous links and bite sized pieces of articles on the homepage and at first glance the page can appear somewhat confusing. However I like the fact it offers readers a free trial of their online newspaper and again I like its use of hyperlinking and its link to videos. While many Irish sites have improved in recent times looking at sites such as the two mentioned above shows that some of them still have someway to go especially in terms of their use of hyperlinks.

Posted by: arosieview | April 13, 2010

Online journalism – Not so ‘new’

Just came across this really great news report from 1981 on the future of online journalism. It’s about reading your newspaper from your computer screen.

I find it amazing that people had the ability to this almost 30 years ago yet it also makes me wonder why today do so many people refer to the internet and online journalism as ‘new’. Many people and many papers often use the fact it is ‘new’ as an excuse to lag behind in their online development.

The industry has come far in the last 30 years and this video shows those who assisted in helping to create on a mass level what we now consider to be the ‘norm’ e.g finding information and reading your paper online.

But it is time that we stopped using this ‘new’ technology as an excuse to lag behind. The internet is here and its here to stay. Now is time to really embrace it.

Posted by: arosieview | April 13, 2010

Moving forward – The Mayo News

In terms of good online sites then The Mayo News is certainly one to look out for.

If you compare their website to those of other regional newspapers then it is clear to see how they are light-years ahead of the rest.

Among many of their great features one is their audio section which allows users to listen to a variety of podcasts including current news stories and a range of interviews.

I’m amazed at how a small regional newspaper has utilised the web to such an extent.

The Nifty250 section is another great example of how forward thinking the paper is. The Nifty250 is an online entity of the paper and it gives readers the latest Mayo news in less than 250 words.

But the ‘fun’ doesn’t stop there. Over at Twitter The Mayo News has set up various Twitter accounts for the various sections some of which include news, sport and living. Unlike many papers though these accounts don’t stand idle, they are continuously updated throughout the day.

It seems to me that some of our national papers could learn a great deal from the likes of The Mayo News.

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