Friday, October 07, 2005

JOURNALISM: Quality online websites hightlighted among ONA finalists

The Online News Association spotlights high-quality web-based journalism through its annual Online Journalism Awards. Finalists were announced:


(which excerpted from a United Press International story)

The nominees were selected by the Online News Association and the USC
Annenberg School for Communication for showing "excellence in
English-language Web journalism." Awards cover areas from breaking news to
commentary to service news, with separate categories for small and large
operations. Finalist were announced Sept. 30 and winners will be announced Oct. 28 and
29 at the ONA conference in New York.

Part of that variation included a larger number of small, relatively unknown
sites and outlets that are purely Internet-based.
"In the first few years, larger sites dominated. What's happened is that as
the online medium has matured and as we've refined our competition, you're
seeing a lot more outstanding smaller sites," Regan told United Press

The Internet has steadily become a prominent part of today's news
consumption. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press estimates
that one-third of Americans over 18 get news online regularly.
"People see online media as another option. In the car, you use radio, on
Sunday morning, a newspaper, and at work, you go online. Online media had
become an important component because it has become an option. Before it was
just an afterthought," said Regan.

One medium online journalism often finds itself in is the blog, the name for
online journals kept by millions of individuals worldwide. Many prominent
print journalists maintain personal weblogs, and blogs, while often informal
venues for opinions and attitude, sometimes take a more journalistic angle,
such as Los Angeles Times Editor Kevin Roderick's page, LA Observed.
"I consider it journalism, and try to apply the same standards of factual
accuracy and intellectual honesty that I would for anything I write for
publication or broadcast," writes Roderick of LA Observed.
Not all bloggers share Roderick's commitment to factuality and honesty,
however. Most blogs are kept as journals of opinion, and some critics argue
that when readers use blogs for news, they cannot be sure they're getting
the truth.

A poll of journalists in June found that less than 1 percent of news
professionals believe blogs are credible sources for news. With no editor
like their accredited counterparts, many feel bloggers are too susceptible
to misinformation.

"Oh really? Would that be like Steven Glass in the New Republic?" scoffed
Regan in response to the idea. "Lots of print reporters have fabricated
stories in past. The problems of credibility have nothing to do with the

Both bloggers and academics seem to agree. MSNBC blogger Jon Bonne wrote,
"Journalism is a function; blogging is a form."

At a "Blogging, Journalism, and Credibility" conference held at Harvard in
January, NYU professor Jay Rosen argued in an essay that "Bloggers vs.
Journalists is over," and that "(Bloggers) are closer to the transaction
where trust gets built up on the Web."

Online journalism, whatever its relationship with blogs turns into, is sure
to have a prominent place in the future of news production and consumption.
Said Regan, "It's changing journalism in a way we're just beginning to deal
with. It's really exciting to me."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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