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A Convergent Moment December 30, 2006

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism.
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A major news story such as the execution of Saddam Hussein requires journalists to tell a compelling account rich in information and precise in detail.

From a media and cultural literacy standpoint, what will the iconic images of this historic moment ultimately be, and how does the journalist, as sense-maker, play a role in putting this into context?

JILL GEISLER, Poynter Institute

In covering a significant news story, the challenge for journalists is not so much whether and what to report, because by default you do those, but how to tell the stories visually and descriptively to enable your audience to make sense of and experience the information.

JOANNE TEOH
Journalist/Filmmaker, Channel NewsAsia Singapore

This is a convergent moment to get beyond “platform thinking” and apply journalism values across all platforms to serve readers, viewers and users. Each form should be used for its unique storytelling and communication possibilities.

Where information is set free from limitations imposed by space, time and editorial judgment, the wiki model may work. News sites can put in place a feedback mechanism to get perspectives from audience and guide users to other perspectives. A guided tour online of coverage and viewpoints that go outside of traditional media could be a powerful way of helping put context to this story.

Of course, there are political factions at work that don’t share the same sensibilities. The challenge for Web editors is whether to link to these images. And importantly, how confident are they the image is real?

While a number of news sites are already running polls that ask readers to vote on whether or not they want to see images of the execution. Remember though that online polls are merely tools for user involvement rather than a reliable index of reader opinion.

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