In an industry not much more than five years old, progress has come quickly. The early experimentation has given way to the more conservative design popularized by online newspapers.
Online journalism’s progress, ironically, has been slowing as the industry rushes to keep up with the demand for information. More bodies are brought in to display the information, yet there is less time for those same bodies to take the articles to the next step.
Unfortunately for both the reader, and the online journalist, this means the medium's not being fully utilized.
The once-obligatory links are vanishing from the body copy and appearing separately on the page—again inspired by online newspapers. Those links that do appear are often token links, pointing to a stock quote or a company's home page.
While good, and occasionally excellent online journalism is still being done, it's usually found in special reports, and not in the daily news.
The result is often a dull experience combining the worst elements of both the Web (poor resolution, distracting) and print (static, limited space).
Online publications must work to provide their readers with an experience unlike print by:
- letting the reader dig deeper into the story be reading source material
- providing the background context by linking to related stories and information bits
- offering a chance to participate in, or reshape, the story
This kind of journalism is more labour-intensive, and would eventually require the rethinking of the way online newsrooms operate, but it could also help to better inform the public, and ease their distrust of the journalits and the media.