Thursday, January 18, 2007

"The Web and The Future of Writing" by Chip Scanlan

This article begins by exploring the wonders, as well as the downside, of interactive multimedia, specifically focusing on Internet journalism. Author Chip Scanlan warns that news stories might loose their personal edge, "too many stories today are written by the telephone,"(1*) and as technologies advance, this problem could get worse. He goes on to talk about the inverted pyramid style of writing that now reigns a total monopoly on journalism, something I learned when I wrote for my High School's newspaper. This concept has become even more important when writing on the web, "we know from several studies that users don't scroll,"(1) Jakob Nielsen reminds us. Scanlan then explains the challenge of using multiple forms of media to write effectively, such a writer must know what will be assumed from the other forms of media they use to supplements to their writing. Online news pioneer Bill Mitchell claims while its "not impossible," such writing "will require extraordinary focus as well as skill."(3) I appreciate Scanlan's skeptical approach to multimedia journalism, as with anything we must look at what will be lost with the development of new technologies. This directly relates to the first chapter of out textbook, "Writing for Multimedia and the Web," which also warns of all the things that can go wrong when doing this sort of writing.

*For this article I have used the three sections separated by boldface titles as separate pages

Scanlan, Chip. "The Web and the Future of Writing." 18 Dec. 2002. 18 Jan. 2007. -

No comments: