The 4th part of the results of my survey of blogging journalists looks at how blogs have affected how news production is affected by blogging.
The area where respondents most often identified a change in news production was in the rise of a looser, more personal, and less formal writing style, echoing the findings of Wall (2005). Respondents talked of finding their “voice”, being more informal and “creative”. For some this fed back into the mainstream news vehicles, particularly for broadcast journalists whose work previously involved less writing.
Some identified a move away from print- or broadcast-driven production processes, with some stories, for example, “written after the visual … rather than finding an image to support the story” (Respondent 26, Australia, newspapers), or vice versa.
The immediacy of the web was clearly a factor, with respondents noting that they worked more quickly, breaking stories on their blogs before following up both online and in print or broadcast. Related to this was a movement towards the iterative journalism that many theorists (Beckett, 2008; Bruns, 2005; Gillmor, 2004; Matheson, 2004) have identified in online journalism.
Brevity was also frequently mentioned, with journalists reporting writing shorter, more tightly edited pieces not just for blogs but also for print and broadcast.
Conversely, the web provided a space and technology for expanding in ways that print and broadcast did not allow.
“Stories that otherwise would have been footnotes in print can be explored more fully on the blog,” noted one (Respondent 33, US, newspapers).
Perhaps the most significant change was in the way that blogs provided a platform for stories or detail that would otherwise not make the print or broadcast version at all. Respondents talked of augmenting coverage that “would otherwise fall in the cracks”, of pieces that were interesting, but wouldn’t merit space in the paper, or that use elements that “don’t necessarily fit into the rigid lengths of radio pieces.”
It also meant journalists could link elsewhere when time or space constraints meant they were unable to report in full – to some extent fulfilling Jeff Jarvis’s rule (2007) of “Cover what you do best and link to the rest”
Has blogging affected your news production processes? Let me know in the comments.