Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Stylish Editing on the Internet

It's been hammered home that web journalism isn't dramatically different from print journalism; with the main differences laying in the Internet's ability to deliver more dynamic content. With this extra power comes a greater responsibility as a web editor will need not only his/her fundamental print editing skills, but also to pay more careful attention for digital details.

In James Glen Stovall's book, Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a New Media, he states in Chapter 6 that one of the main duties of a web editor is to know the special language of the Internet. For example, direct linking is much more effective than a "Click Here for my website." What's even more tacky is a literal link: . The first method of linking allows for the best flow for any visitor who reads the piece.

Parallel to the print medium, it is vital to have flow within your digital writing. Usage of trite or cliche phrases, redundant sentences, and offensive language are frowned upon no matter who you're writing for.

And last but not least, accuracy: the most important element in any form of Journalism. Stovall lists his five commandments of copyediting for the Internet, with one of them being "Thou Shalt Do the Math." He says that numerical figures need to add up, logic cannot be faulty, questions must not go unanswered, and information must not be contradictory.

These points carry over from print news but many forget that pretend-journalists roam the Internet, giving web journalism a bad reputation. In order to establish credibility, web editors must not forget the basic fundamentals nor the specialty skills found only online.


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