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ONLINE JOURNALISM: and its advantages and disadvantages

The technique of gathering and disseminating news online is known as online journalism. The term "digital journalism" is sometimes used. This is a contemporary style of journalism popular in the current digital era. Unlike traditional journalists, who publish in print or on television, online journalists deliver their editorial content via the Internet. This type of journalism, where facts are reported, generated, and distributed online, has been used by newspaper industries for some time. Since many individuals no longer purchase printed newspapers other than to save them for reference, online journalism is becoming more and more popular.

Online news sources are perceived by today's internet users as being easily accessible and less expensive to utilise.Because of its interaction and utilisation of multimodal sources like text, audio, and video, digital journalism makes news more fascinating. The internet offers an infinite audience base for online news providers, which boosts both the economic prosperity and public popularity of online journalism.
Traditional news channels are afraid that they would lose viewers to online news websites as a result of the internet's considerable challenges to traditional news sectors in a number of ways. As a result, traditional news sectors have significantly shifted to online platforms, and today every serious news station has an online counterpart or some other type of major online presence. The increasing accessibility of Internet-enabled devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops, the lack of significant entry barriers for online journalists, and the lower cost of entry and participation in the digital sphere are some of the factors that have contributed to the widespread use of digital journalism.

 What defines "digital journalism" has been the subject of intense discussion. However, this type of journalism uses the main output of conventional journalism, news and feature pieces on current events, and disseminates them through digital media channels in text, audio, video, and occasionally interactive way. Essentially, it is traditional journalism being practised online this time.

Here are some of the fundamental benefits of online journalism:

Lower entry barriers
Anyone who is familiar with using a laptop or smartphone that has internet access can work as an online journalist. As more people without a foundation in traditional journalism come into it, this has popularised the field while simultaneously weakening it. Before hiring someone to write for them, reputable online newspapers need a foundational understanding of journalism.

Decreased costs for distribution
In contrast to traditional distribution of a newspaper, for example, which has territorial restrictions, you can post a story and the entire globe will see it. To move newspapers to various areas, you can incur significant transportation costs. However, the cost of distribution for online journalism is low; all you need is access to the internet. Similar constraints on transmitter power and bandwidth also apply to broadcast media.

Computer networking technologies of several types
The ability to practise online journalism across a variety of platforms is growing because to interconnectivity, which enables two or more computers or electronic devices to exchange data electronically. A journalist can publish a story to an editor of a newspaper in a different region of the world while remaining in their current location. It is possible to reach audiences around the world thanks to the same interconnectedness. It is because of the strength of various computer networking technologies that digital journalism has become a cornerstone of the global village.

Democratized Information Flow
Traditional media, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, used to be in charge of the practise of news collection and transmission. But the rise of online journalism has democratised the flow of information, giving individuals a variety of options for daily news updates.

Greater Degree of Creativity
The digital world is a creative place in and of itself. Devices are used to make digital material more appealing and fascinating, including text, images, music, video, and audio-visual features, which are essential components of online journalism. Links to other websites enhance the originality of online news sources.

Real-time reporting
Online journalists provide real-time news coverage. They offer real-time news. Even as a story is being updated, viewers may still get the gist of it and watch the video. Online news outlets also broadcast breaking news in real time. This is how web journalism updates breaking news and events as they unfold and publishes reports in real time. This has always been a component of broadcast media, but because to advances in digital technology, online newspapers now have access to it as well.

Reporting for a shift
This is the process of planning for a narrative to appear at a later time. One of the most intriguing aspects about online journalism is this. This feature is useful to radio and television stations as well. Time shifting in broadcasting refers to the recording of content to a storage medium for later viewing or listening. This usually refers to television programming, while podcasts can also refer to radio programmes. Online media have the option to publish and store material for later access.

Multimedia Strategy
Multimedia components such as text, images, sound, music, motion pictures, and animation can all be used in online journalism. These could be used in conjunction to create a compelling story.

The fact that online journalism is interactive is one of its most intriguing aspects. The utilisation of hyperlinks is the fundamental method for this interactivity on the Web. Through the introduction of diverse points of view and the addition of depth and detail, they connect the various components of a lengthy, complex work. A piece of online journalism may consist of a group of linked web pages, each of which may have links to other websites. There are also comment areas where readers can respond to stories and converse with one another. Digital journalism maintains the audience's social engagement in this manner.

Online journalists allow readers to participate as they click their way through a collection of hyperlinked pages, unlike traditional journalists who lead the reader through a linear narrative. In a linear narrative, the tale is told only by the journalist, but in an interactive narrative, in addition to the primary story, there are supporting stories that readers may access by clicking on hyperlinks, and they can also leave comments on the web article. With interactivity, the online journalist can somewhat influence how the reader or participant moves through the content, but numerous navigational options, branching options, and hyperlinks encourage them to keep exploring the various story threads that the reporter, writer, or editor has put together. An effective way to give readers and participants access to a library of source materials and background knowledge that forms the basis of a thorough journalistic investigation is through a web of interconnected sites.

Paperless Information Exchange
This means that all you need to stay connected to daily news updates and your favourite discussion programmes is a digital device. Every news item you receive now comes from electronic media thanks to digital journalism and other broadcast channels, preserving the environment. Environmentalists adore this invention because for every piece of paper saved, a tree grows stronger. Every newspaper will have apps now, and this will help media firms use natural resources sustainably. However, despite the fact that this is a disadvantage for newspaper companies, they have managed to preserve their global readership by offering online editions of their newspapers.

Immediate Reaction
Readers can respond to stories right away after reading them thanks to the comment section on internet news sites. The material supplied by the online journalist is open to immediate reader/participant response, which might take many different forms. Similar to the conventional letter to the editor of print publications, it might be done by emailing the reporter or editor. However, email letters can be published online far more quickly than print letters can. Online journalists can also benefit from threaded discussions, which enable readers to respond instantly to an article and to other readers' remarks in a debate that can be accessed whenever they choose. A website or web page that has a bulletin board allows users to post comments on a specific topic or issue and respond to other users' postings. The continual co-creation of an editorial environment, which develops from the online journalist's initial reporting and the initial piece, can involve readers as participants. This makes the news platforms' online content interactive.

Online journalism has significant limitations as well. Here are some fundamentals:

High Error Margin Compared to Others
There is a significant likelihood that news reports will be published with less comprehensive fact-checking and less proofreading because of the need to stay on top of breaking news. As a result, the spread of internet news sources has come to be blamed for the current false news era. However, extremely reputable web publications and other media always use extreme caution when publishing material for public consumption.

Deficient Gatekeepers
The people who decide what is reported as news, from the field reporter through the news editor and finally the editor, are known as gatekeepers. Major news companies employ highly skilled individuals to report articles and edit them before publication. However, there are a number of additional questionable internet news sources, particularly citizen journalism sites run by individuals with little to no background in the fundamentals of journalism. As a result, their platforms' news material is very unreliable.

Less Gatekeepers
One person could be running a one-man news operation as a citizen journalist. There are fewer employees working for certain bloggers and owners of online news sites who also claim to be engaged in the practise of journalism. The majority of websites that we encounter may be operated by a single individual. However, a story must first clear a number of hurdles at reputable publications like Daily Mail, New York Times, and Washington Post, among many others, before it can be published online. Before a story is published, these people—from the reporter on the ground to the city editor, news editor in the office, and editor-in-chief—verify that it adheres to basic journalistic standards.

Lack of Attention to Good Journalism
In an effort to break news first and garner more viewers, many online news outlets pay scant attention to good journalism. Many of the people who work for such untrustworthy platforms lack formal journalism training, which is evident in the calibre of their contents. These online news sources are held accountable for the advent of the fake news era since their information is, in part, less reliable. Since everyone can now access the internet more easily, it is much simpler for dishonest people to propagate misinformation about a certain person or organisation, which contributes to the spread of fake news in society. On the other hand, respectable traditional news outlets that have online versions of their news channels work hard to uphold objectivity and superior news reporting. This suggests that not all online news outlets should be universally condemned as doing subpar journalism. Numerous them are online adaptations of very reputable traditional news outlets. Additionally, some news outlets and publications that are only available online follow the standards of professional journalism.

Lower Quality Editing
Online editions appear to be edited less strictly, notably in terms of story length and content, and this appears to be a drawback for online journalism. Online newspapers are a little less serious than their print counterparts due to the infinite news space. However, reputable traditional newspapers and other news organisations employ online editors to manage the content of their websites.

In the process of globalisation and the idea of the global village, online journalism is a key component. Online journalism platforms typically offer the same articles and graphics as traditional magazine or newspaper publishing, despite some added links to associated websites. The Internet significantly increases the value of these pieces by giving them a quick, widespread, affordable dissemination medium. In today's digital culture, this has contributed to the rising popularity of online journalism. To uphold the principles of the industry, anyone intending to pursue a career in online journalism must first complete basic journalistic training.

Sriparna Mukherjee
Amity University, Kolkata



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