An insight into an online publishing class with award-winning freelance journalist Chris Wheal at the London School of Journalism.
Online journalism is a major asset for any aspiring journalist nowadays but it is guided by rules and principles, like every other journalistic field.
In his first lesson on online publishing platforms, online specialist Chris Wheal demonstrated it extensively.
The web is a highly competitive environment but journalists have to make a difference.
Journalists are not writing for themselves but for a broad audience, being the reason why they should make their stories appealing and easy to understand.
Chris Wheal gave very detailed advice on how to make a story more attractive, whether it might be by :
- breaking up the story with subheadings, pictures or videos.
- giving concrete examples instead of bare facts.
- using “you” and “we” instead of the 3rd person to engage the reader.
He also insisted that every journalist always bears in mind how to reference their work by using various methods:
- quoting nouns early in the story to grab people’s attention at the very beginning
- using key words or hyperlinks to help people find the story they’re looking for on search engines.
- putting links or hashtags inside the story, as well as google adwords.
Another key to success in online publishing lies in the social media.
Being active on social media is not an option anymore for journalists, said Chris Wheal.
“They have to make themselves available”, he added.
Stories or events that are trending on Twitter or Facebook also make the news and give relevant stories to write for journalists.
Twitter is particularly inescapable, he stressed, as it gives access to a wide range of immediate source but other platforms can prove useful:
- Periscope, allows live-stream that can be used to broadcast conferences or live events
- Audioboom, mainly used by radio broadcasters who record their piece on that social media and can send it instantaneously
- Blogger or WordPress, the two major blogging platforms
- WhatsApp, allows faster communication between journalists and their sources