Research and Innovation Key to Future of Online Journalism

Research in online journalism seems to provide just as many questions as it does answers, said participants in a panel on online journalism research.

In the studies presented for the panel, journalists and academics looked at ways for online journalism to improve in terms of content, design and resources.

“We have to experiment,” said Guillermo Franco, editor of “You have to break paradigms to create ways to present content.”

Franco presented a study he conducted during the International Symposium on Online Journalism showing that information is too often repeated in news websites, despite the lack of space available on a computer screen.

By researching various online publications, he established what he sees as a more efficient way of presenting information to online readers. He proposes that the text in the body of a news story or in the blurb on the homepage should complement the information in the headline and not just repeat it.

Steve Outing, senior editor of the Poynter Institute, gave a preview of the new Eyetrack III study, which uses new technology to focus on the viewership patterns of online readers.

Rosental Alves, University of Texas at Austin journalism professor, and Amy Schmitz Weiss, a UT doctoral student, presented their findings on the frequency of updates on various online publications. They have studied the changes 30 major newspapers in the United States made in their homepages during a period of two weeks.

Alves stressed the necessity of implementing more frequent updates for online news publications and criticized newspapers for not including the hour each story is posted on the Web.

“Not putting the hour (for an online publication) is like not putting the day (in print), just the month,” Alves said. “It’s December and it doesn’t matter if it’s the 16th or 17th.”

 ISOJ 2004: Research on Online Journalism, from Knight Center on Vimeo.