Times have sure changed since the days of the humble newspaper, as more and more readers migrate to digital media. Yet after 1000 editions, Sydney Star Observer is still going gangbusters as Australia’s leading gay and lesbian publication. And I’m chuffed to be an ongoing part of that.
But as the dissemination of news accelerates, is it better to get the story first, or get the story right?
Online news is preferred by most, and with social networking connecting millions, it’s nothing to word-up via Facebook, Twitter, or MSN. From heinous gay bashings to salacious celebrity goss, online forums now frequently serve as portals for breaking info.
The face of journalism is also changing, as we opt for different media. The integrity of online news is sometimes questioned — especially when a quick Google search, some sly copying and pasting and Wikipedia can churn out a shiny feature piece faster than you can say, “All gloss and no substance”. Run it though spell-check, and voilà — instant story! Well, for some, maybe.
I wonder if the ways of the future are dumbing us down.
I type and text well faster than I write. My spelling sucks and my handwriting has deteriorated to truncated scribble. Gone are the days when ‘penmanship’ was an art, a testament to one’s character. Or so my late grandmama would say.
I’ve conducted interviews by email after receiving media releases. It’s common practice, and publicists often prefer it. I’ve also sent the same (modified) questions to different people. It never ceases to amaze me how a request for a few snappy quotes can morph into a 2000-word saga of self-indulgence. Unlike pink bits, when it comes to word count, bigger isn’t always better.
Face-to-face interviews or phoners are best. And VoIP rocks for recording quotes. You simply can’t beat talking to someone, which probably also makes for a better read.
But in the Gen Y-esque epithet of this column, remember to also catch SSO’s blistering 1000th edition via Twitter, Facebook and www.starobserver.com.au. Then grab the paper and download the PDF too. Just like reading the real thing, only on your monitor.
My grandmother must be turning in her grave.