Professional journalistic content is separated from all other information spread in the media space by its creation process during which the journalist makes the story newsworthy, i.e.
“People have come to Pirita Yacht Harbour to secure their vessels so the storm would hurt them much.” This headline was published on the Delfi news site on 26 September.
Such mistakes happen very easily and not because the writer is uneducated or illiterate, but because of the conditions the writer has to work in.
Very few skills, however, are actually used in everyday work.
For example, when we asked the editorial manager what skills an online journalist should have, we got an entire list of various technical and journalistic skills.
However, when we looked at what the online editors actually do, their use of skills was largely limited to copying text, simple editing and translation.
Looking at the big picture, this is a problem – journalism students gain a lot of different knowledge and skills during their studies at universities which they cannot actually use with the work organised in such a way.It is true that at the beginning of the 2000s, when social media was not so common yet, there were readers that were constantly refreshing the web sites of media publications to get something new.Today, social media offers a continual flow of something new and the heavy users almost do not exist any more.This time pressure as well as the contrived expectation for the volume of work inhibits the application of various knowledge, skills and competences.There is no point in monetising information that is available for free In one of the studies for my doctoral thesis, together with my co-authors, I tried to see if and for which online journalistic content the audience is willing to pay.Results and why they are important The studies that constitute a part of the doctoral thesis revealed a conflict of expectations and practice.Journalists, referring to editors and reporters, assume that online journalists are multi-skilled.Therefore, these skills are lost or people decide to leave such online newsrooms.“Keeping the line” and “producing units” From the research, it became evident that a contrived time pressure dominates the work processes – most of the online journalists interviewed on different years had the obligation to “keep the line” or continually publish articles (e.g., one every hour), which the journalists call “units”.We found that, among other things, the readers primarily expect a comprehensive and thorough coverage, but also content that is created masterfully and diversely using the specifics of the web as a platform.And the audience is definitely not willing to pay for “units” containing information that can be found on Google for free.