An article published in Le Monde on May provoked a fruitful debate on the working conditions of online journalists in the French media blogosphere. Corentin Wauters summarizes it wonderfully in English at the EJC website. The bottomline is whether online journalists devote most of their worktime to agency wire editing and publishing, rather than to original reporting and multimedia production.
Results of the ethnographies in online newsrooms of half-dozen of countries collected in Making Online News support the journalistic description of the piece posted at Le Monde. Immediacy rules the working routines of online journalism. This is not to say that there is no experimental online journalism and room for multimedia reportages and feature reporting. Steen Steensen is researching this aspect of online news (see Journalism Practice for a content-analysis paper and forthcoming ethnographic results in Journalism and Journalism Studies), where innovation is more intense than in daily breaking news production, but we need to acknowledge that this is the exception to the rule of working routines in online newsrooms.
A recent survey of US online journalists by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism suggests that they are more optimistic regarding the future survival of the profession than their traditional media counterparts. However, they are concerned that Web publishing is loosening the quality standards of the profession and that online media still has not found a clear revenue model. Read a summary of the study at Poynter.org.