Here’s the main points from my presentation at Nordic Tech Politics in Oslo, Sep 2nd 2011.
Everybody in online journalism knows things have to change. We’re stuck in print reality, where journalism equals the written word. Where print still has higher status than online content.
Fake tweets become breaking news. Articles are being posted that should never have become news. When established media post stories about how the size of your fingers determine the size of your penis, something has gone wrong.
The answers are right at our fingertips. Bloggers, twitters, Facebook’ers are all leading the way to are more non-elitist and enlightened society, offline as well as online.
So how to define digital journalism? I would like to propose three journalistic dogmas:
1. From click rates to share-ability
Focusing on at what gets shared should replace focus on clicks and ”most read”-lists. Hopefully a focus on shared content will lead to less misleading headlines and content deliberately going for easy clicks (using sex or sensation as a trigger) and move focus to quality journalism that people enjoy reading. A lot of the most shared articles on email or social media is not classic journalism. It’s almost never a telegram or news articles, but content that moves people and doesn’t care about timeliness. A co-worker of mine pointed out that the most shared objects are not really journalism. Well, who defines that – the journalists or the readers?
2. Be equals
When you tweet, Barack Obama, Dalai Lama and Lady Gaga are all limited to 140 characters. Social media underscores the basic democratic fact that we’re all equal. One person, one vote. One person, 140 characters. This calls for humility, listening and taking in criticism. Virtues they don’t teach at Journalism School.
3. An article doesn’t stop at the last punctuation. It begins.
Engage with the readership, admit your mistakes and shortcomings. Let your followers do some of the work. Be part of the community.
An example of how a media can become part of the local community is taking at Norran in Northen Sweden. Every day they have a livechat with their users, and they play an active role in the community.
Hopefully this trend will spread from North to South, as journalists and editors realize that without an audience, there is no media.