Recently Mark Bahnisch of blogsite Larvatus Prodeo said he "...would be interested in what LP folks think makes an excellent piece of online writing in journalistic form...a set of criteria distinctive to feature writing or reportage produced specifically for the online medium rather than print..”
In responding to that request, I took the view that good journalism, whether in print or online, had many features in common. So I compiled a list for online journalism, but many of the items are just as applicable to print journalism. This is my list, enlarged on reflection.
Readers’ additions would be welcome, as well as comments about how well The Political Sword meets the listed criteria. [more]
Good online journalism should:
Over to you.
Be honest and exhibit integrity
Address issues of importance, and avoid the trivial
Use an original approach rather than the stereotypical
Be willing to tackle complex issues, acknowledge the complexity, and avoid simplistic solutions
Be prepared to challenge ‘sacred cows’
Be prepared to confront and disassemble dishonest, disingenuous, biased speech or writing
Be accurate and rich with verifiable facts
Include all the relevant facts, not a biased selection
Include accessible references to support facts and assertions
Be rich with hyperlinks – one of the advantages of online journalism
Clearly separate opinion from facts
Clearly denote quotations, acknowledge and reference sources
Structure the piece understandably – consider the classical introduction, body and conclusions
Use logical, well reasoned arguments
Be intellectually honest
Use fluent, clear, simple prose
Go easy on the adjectives
Avoid verbosity – embrace brevity
Avoid exaggerated language, clichés and mantras
Be modest in making assertions – avoid arrogance
Be respectful of persons, even those with whom one disagrees
Be fair – be careful about impugning the motives of others
Use first and last names of persons when first mentioned, then last names
Avoid heavy sarcasm and personal jibes
Be unafraid though to call it the way it seems to be
Be unintimidated by power, position or influential people
Use a catchy title, one that reflects the substance of the piece
Use a little flair and style, be unique where possible
Use metaphors and idioms freely
Use humour where appropriate
Draw readers in and hold them to the end
Begin and finish with a flourish
Ensure the conclusions match the presented facts and the arguments
Use visuals, still and movie, where they add to clarity
Be as objective as possible, acknowledge any subjectivity
Acknowledge biases and conflicts of interest
Include background information on the writer
Moderate comments to exclude personal abuse or stereotypical mantras
Respond quickly to comments that warrant a response
Respond reasonably, use sound logic, avoid defensiveness and invective
Be enjoyable for the writer and intellectually rewarding
Be enjoyable, informative, challenging, provocative and intellectually stimulating for readers.
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