Register for your free copy
Articles written by renowned journalists and columnists. Every other friday...

How can we use the Internet to differentiate between the media?

Only a few traditional media outlets in Serbia do not have their own websites on which they publish news. On the other side, most of the web sites of traditional media outlets have existed for years in the form that allows (more or less) up-to-date publishing of news. Regardless of the increasing competition from other online media as compared to the websites of the traditional media, numerous statistical analyses of the most visited websites in Serbia show that websites of certain traditional media outlets rank at the top. Since the revenue from internet advertising in Serbia increases every day, why do many websites of traditional media outlets fail to take advantage of this fact?

The rising number of visitors of media websites proves that the media's internet audience keeps increasing, which presents the challenge of how to attract these increasingly curious (and selective) visitors. One of possible answers is very simple and is applicable to media activities outside the Internet as well โ€“ be different from others and attractive to target groups of viewers, listeners and readers!

Of course, practical implementation of qualitative differentiation of a media outlet immediately faces numerous challenges, while on the other side a well-known managers' motto says that each challenge means a new opportunity.

The basis for differentiation may lie in the very process of media editing

Unlike what the process of media content preparation looked like in the beginning of the nineties, for example ("the fax machine is a godsend!"), in the last ten years the Internet has taken on the role of the main form of communication in the process of preparation of media content.

Considering the management process of preparation, creation and distribution of content via a certain medium, there are two points that may serve as a very good way to achieve the necessary differentiation of an individual media outlet:

1. As a systematic feature of all traditional media outlets, the process of selection of news to be processed mostly results from monitoring news agencies' announcements. The media outlets which succeed in including various other online sources in the process of selection of news at the systemic level (in addition to those coming from news agencies) may have an advantage in the differentiation aspect, at the level of dominant origin of news that will later be processed.

The main problems that severely inhibit the implementation of this form of news selection system at the systemic level in the media (outside of several news items found on the Internet by chance) are related to the selection process itself, i.e. filtering of relevant sources, or to the time that is necessary to ascertain the relevancy of news, as well as to the lack of tools for aggregation of such types of online content.

2. Today, the system of creation of news disseminated on the Internet implies that the process of news creation also contains elements of distribution (promotion) of the same news.

The news itself should contain elements that can be adapted to distribution via various social media (Facebook, Twitter), and it would be desirable for the author of the news to reply to constructive comments and questions of the website visitors; it is also recommended to link sources in order to provide further information to the readers โ€“ the information related to the specific sources and articles that served as a basis for the news.

Although these lines may lead to problems in practical implementation, the solution lies in education using best practice (BBC, The Guardian, NY Times, Washington Post...) in systemic improvement of editing of all segments of the news "life cycle" โ€“ from their preparation to distribution to promotion...

Dragan Varagic

About the authors

MC Newsletter, June 18, 2010

View all comments (0)      Leave a comment

Published comments contain opinions that are not the opinions of Media Center. Responsibility for the content of messages and their accuracy lies on the website users who posted them.

The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the view of the Media Center. The author bear full responsibility for the content of the text.