In an era where technology is constantly in flux, is it best to always use what’s newest, most updated or advanced? Often the answer is no. While new technologies allow for a torrent of new platforms to report through, the most well-established and oldest principles of journalism are really the core and crux of reporting. ABC online news reported Elaine Ford (@elainecford) says while a journalist may employ the most current forms of communication, without simple capabilities in spelling and grammar, the writer’s credibility is completely denigrated. The ABC’s corrections and clarifications page that reveals how easily simple mistakes can occur.
In actuality, a series of faux pas occur all the time that cement the contention that basic journalistic skills including research should not be overshadowed by technology. For example, ABC News in the ACT were covering a story about the death of Jai Morcom and instead of showing his picture, displayed a photograph of Daniel Morcombe who was abducted on the Sunshine Coast in 2003. This reveals how important traditional journalistic skills still remain. As ABC’s Penny Timms exemplified, being able to use established journalistic techniques can be imperative when producing a story. Timms was reporting on Cyclone Yasi without any electricity and managed to prepare her report using a paper and pen and lots of candles. Without any technological fripperies, Timms produced her piece.
In fact Dave Copeland says in an online report photographs and videos may instantaneously command the attention of a reader, but words maintain their interest. Thus, knowing simple ideas like the 5 W’s and the H, the inverted pyramid and having a knowledgable grasp of prose, will be what absorbs and retains audiences. This is what is called making a website “sticky” in online jargon.
Therefore, concepts that may seem irrelevant in the rapidly changing 21st century are actually still very applicable. Do not underestimate the power of traditional, and sometimes antiquated, journalistic skills.