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AP: Journalists can now be content with presence of Internet
Written by Trista Steers MacVittie   
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 19:00

Change is the only constant we can count on, and while journalists are often accused of being slow to change, our newest trade book reveals we’re coming around.

The Associated Press released the The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law 2011 at the end of July and an entire section dedicated to social media proves journalists are coming around to the digital age.

The AP Stylebook is the basis for all news writing in the United States and the beginning foundation for every journalist.

Journalism rests on the foundation of the pen and paper, and many journalists, especially the older generation, initially rejected the Internet as a news source fearing it would be the demise of the printed or spoken word.

While the presence of news websites and up-to-date citizen reporting forced journalism as a whole to evolve, AP’s inclusion of social media standards — the newest news spreading craze — is a sign the industry realized we can all live together and create a better informed public.

It’s true online news hurt all traditional media outlets — newspapers, magazines, radio and television — in the beginning.

Traditional media normally delivers the news to its audience on a set schedule, which is where Internet news had and still has the edge. Information can be updated immediately and accessed at any time.

Originally, bloggers stole some of this traffic by embracing the Internet’s capability to deliver timely news. News organizations hesitated to make the move to the Internet, but eventually felt it a necessary step to keep their audiences happy. Once established news outlets began offering news online, Internet users left the blogs and again sought news from credible sources.

After journalists budged on Internet content, many organizations swung to the complete other end of the spectrum and found themselves in trouble.

Those organizations caused their own struggle with the Internet by offering the entire content of the print or broadcast product for free online making reading their newspaper, watching their broadcast or tuning into their station completely unnecessary. Media organizations floundered when sales went down and their audience shifted from their primary product to the Internet.

Then, we figured out the magic recipe — different content for the web and our primary products.

At the Cottonwood Journal Extra, we’ve embraced the Internet, but understand our website and our newspaper are two completely different tools.

Our website,, competes with other media by bringing our audience breaking news, whether it’s a fire, accident or board decision. We also offer features not available in our newspaper, such as an interactive poll and current weather conditions. We select a few stories from each issue of the newspaper and also make those available online. We do not, however, post every news story or any content contributed from community members — columns, letters to the editor or guest perspectives. You have to buy our newspaper to enjoy those features.

Journalism is one of our country’s oldest institutions, and industry change isn’t easy after hundreds of years, but we’re coming along.


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