Abdul Qowi Bastian
Is online reporting really the future of journalism?
Online news organizations The Huffington Post and Politico stole the spotlight at this year’s Pulitzer Prize awards.
The Pulitzers, which date back to 1917, began allowing online-only publications to compete three years ago.
Huffington Post reporter David Wood won a National Reporting award for a 10-part series called “Beyond the Battlefield,” which explored the challenges faced by American soldiers severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan during a decade of war, the committee said.
While HuffPo has come far — it attracted 35 million unique visitors per month compared to 33 million for The New York Times in October 2011 — the quality of its journalism has long been debated. Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller described it as “overaggregator” of “celebrity gossip, adorable kitten videos, posts from unpaid bloggers and news reports from other publications … [with] a left-wing soundtrack.”
Although HuffPo is widely criticized for its blog-hosting model that distributes and aggregates news content, the win implies that online journalists are now at the same level as ones at traditional newspapers. When commenting on the Pulitzer Prize, HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington said she believed the award changed the perception of the “Internet Newspaper” as an aggregator from other outlets.
Non-profit investigative journalism organization ProPublica was the first online-only outlet to win a Pulitzer, in 2010, but its stories are in partnership with traditional print news outlets as well.
To some extent, journalism must adapt in this ever-changing era. News breaks faster than ever. Yesterday’s breaking news is today’s newspaper headlines.
It will be a long time before the Internet completely replaces the traditional way of consuming news, but HuffPo’s win, for the time being, is a milestone in the history of journalism.
Will we be seeing more quality online journalism in the future? How would, for example, a Watergate-type scandal be uncovered in the digital age?
What about you, do you think Indonesia’s online journalism is at the same level as its traditional newspapers?
Share your views in the comments section below.