March 31, 2007
International Newspapers and Their Web Sites: Separate Yet Connected Identities
The first day of the 8th International Symposium on Online Journalism came to an end with a tour around the world with journalists from Brazil, France, Spain and Colombia. The journalists didn’t miss a moment to enlighten the audience on their global perspectives on online journalism, which in one way or another was influenced by the viewers.
The panelists emphasized the importance of online journalism by highlighting the different techniques and strategies each group used in inventing an interactive Web site. They also shared their business models and engaged the audience by contrasting online journalism in the United Sates with other countries.
The main change is not the new technology, but rather the change in audience, said French journalist Jean Francois Fogel, a consultant, author, and member of the management team of LeMonde.fr.
The transformation from print to online journalism is underlined by Le Monde’s print edition and its Web site LeMonde.fr, which contains a range of content packages.
The Web site was the first in improving the web model in France. It was innovative and changed faster than its competitors, which gave rise to its success, Fogel said. LeMonde.fr promises “all the news at the time of your connection.” Every 20 minutes at most, the viewer is guaranteed an immediate Web page updated.
LeMonde.fr offers a variety of multimedia options for receiving the news as well as providing a portal for real interactivity. The Web site gets more than 5,000 contributions per day from subscribers.
Fogel said the newspaper and the site are two different businesses – one brand but two audiences. Seventy-six percent of the readers of Le Monde ignore the Web site, and 75 percent of the audience never read the newspaper. The team tries to manage two audiences; however the web provides the brand with a younger and wider audience.
The direction of online journalism is unknown, Fogel said. Changes are occurring constantly. A new model and format are being innovated and adopted by one newsroom or another. New, insightful ideas are welcome, Fogel said.
“We are looking for the writing in a digital discontinuous age,” he said. “The book could be the next missed opportunity. The new technology for binding and distribution is there.”