Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a New Medium

May 11, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: books, journalism, textbooks, writing.

Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a New Medium explores the current practices and future possibilities of Web journalism and examines the characteristics of the Web that distinguish it from traditional media.

The author guides students through discussion of the traditional practices of journalism, such as reporting, editing, photojournalism, and design, while showing how the distinguishing features of the Web—capacity, immediacy, flexibility, permanency, and interactivity—offer new storytelling possibilities. The traditional principles of journalism—particularly journalistic writing that emphasizes accuracy, clarity, precision and efficiency—are emphasized throughout the text.

Order the book from Amazon (where it is incorrectedly titled Journalism on the Web), Barnes and Noble.

News and notes

Web Journalism — in Chinese.The long-awaited Chinese edition of Web Journalism is finally out. I posted something about that a couple of years ago, and copies of the book arrived in the mail last week. (See below)

This is the first time any book of mine has ever been translated into a language that I couldn’t proofread, and that’s probably a good thing. I am certainly not tempted to proofread this one, and neither are any of my proof-reading friends, of which there are several.

Seriously, my hope is that this book will do the folks on the other side of the world some good.

(Posted March 5, 2007)

Another review of Web JN. My friend and colleague Herb Thompson (a great American) has done it again. He has written another very nice review of one of my books, Web Journalism. This one appears on SecondaryEnglish.com, a web site geared for teachers of high school English. (Herb had also written a review of Journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How for the same web site and had included an interview with me along with the review.) “Anyone interested in writing and communicating through this new medium would benefit from reading this book, and I highly recommend it,” Herb says. (Posted May 27, 2005)

Web Journalism goes Chinese. Word came yesterday from publisher Allyn and Bacon that Web Journalism will be published in Chinese. The book has been in print for about a year and a half now and has been adopted as a text by more than 40 colleges and universities around the country. The Chinese publisher is Wunan Books of Taiwan, which describes itself as “Taiwan’s leading publisher in the social sciences and humanities.” (Posted May 3, 2005)

Nice notice from JMCE. Journalism and Mass Communication Educator has given Web Journalism a very nice review. The review describes various parts of the book and says

Because of these core concentrations, this book is likely to assist students in their journalism careers well after they graduate no matter how much technologies and software continue to evolve. The book would be a wonderful addition to beginning reporting and writing courses, as well as serving as a main textbook for courses specifically in multimedia Web reporting and design.

The book was reviewed along with three others in the current issue of JMCE. A PDF file of the entire review can be downloaded from this site. The journal does not post its reviews on its web site. (Posted Feb. 23, 2005)

The prof gets an A. Since its publication in September 2003, Web Journalism has been the subject of a number of very kind reviews. One of the most enthusiastic came in December 2003 in BuzzMachine, the weblog of web media guru Jeff Jarvis. Here is what he said about the book. (Posted July 25, 2005)



  • The first three chapters offer an in-depth examination of the Web as an individual news medium, taking students beyond the idea that Web news is simply a newspaper on screen.
  • An inside look at MSNBC shows students with an idea of what it’s like to be inside a 24-hour Web news organization (Ch. 13).
  • Three chapters on lateral thinking ask students to think beyond the traditional narrative storytelling forms of the inverted pyramid and present a variety of forms and structures to present information (Chs. 4, 5, & 6).
  • “Cool Ideas” sidebars located throughout the book offer short descriptions of innovative ideas of Web journalism to stimulate creative thinking.
  • Web site references at the end of each chapter provide professors with the best sites available for keeping up with advances in Web journalism.


Table of contents



1. Logging on to the Web.

What Is the World Wide Web?

Disadvantages of the Web.

Whither Web Journalism?

SIDEBAR: September 11, 2001.

SIDEBAR: The President and the Intern.

SIDEBAR: The Starr Report.

COOL IDEAS: Don’t Read and Drive; Listen Instead.

2. News Web Sites.

Defined and Current.

Owned and Operated.

Developing a Web Site (Or Not).

Growing the Web Site.

Independently Owned.

News Sites that Didn’t Mean to Be.

Web Logs: A New Form of Journalism?

Whither Web Sites?

SIDEBAR: Content Management Systems.

3. News: Expanding the Definition.

Old News, Good News.

News, and More of it.

No More Deadlines.


Audience-Generated News.

Personalized News.

Web Logs as News.

Unseparating Church and State.

And Finally

COOL IDEAS: If Readers Could Choose.

4. Reporting: Gathering News for the Web.

Something Old, Something News.

Reporting: Where Journalism Begins.

What Makes a Good Reporter.

Sources and Procedures.

Stored Sources.

Speed and No Deadlines.

Versatility and Teamwork.

Beyond Traditional Sources.

Lateral Thinking: Mind Expansion for the Web Journalist.

Layering Information.

What It Takes.

5. Writing.

Writing for the Media.

Techniques of Journalistic Writing.

Structures from Print.

Web Writing Structures.


Writing for Visual Effect.

New Forms of Writing.

Web Logs.

It’s Still About Journalism.

6. Editing.

Editing for the Web.

Upholding Standards.

First Duty: Know the Language.

Second-Level Editing: Formulating the Language.

Headline, Summaries and Links.

The Editor-Reporter Relationship.

Convergence: Where Media Meet.

Site Design and Organization.

Encouraging and Managing Interactivity.

Preserving the Site.

SIDEBAR: Journalistic Style.

SIDEBAR: The Five Commandments for the Copyeditor.

7. Photojournalism

Photojournalism: Journalism, Only Different.

Life and Times of the Photojournalist.

Developing the Good Picture.

The Photo in Print.

The Digital Revolution.

The Web: Medium of Acceptance and Change.

Ethical Considerations.

Photo Web Sites.

The Promise of the Web.

8. Graphics Journalism: Words and Pictures Together.

Graphics Revolution.

Informational Graphics.

Type-Based Graphics.

Chart-Based Graphics.

Three Basic Charts.


Developing Infographics.

Graphics on the Web.

The Immediacy of Graphics Journalism.



COOL IDEAS: Floating in Words.

9. Audio and Video: Sound and Little Fury.

The Web and Broadcast News.

Reporting and Writing for Broadcast.

Story Structure.

Broadcasting Formats.

Broadcast News Web Sites.

Webcasting and Video on Demand.

SIDEBAR: Broadcast Style.

SIDEBAR: On-the-Air to Online.

10. Design: What Goes Where.

Sept. 11 and Beyond.

Design and Layout.

Visual Logic.

Design Concepts.

Three Elements of Design.

Web Site Design.

Organizing a Web Site.

Web Pages.

The Front Page.

Section Fronts.

Article Pages.

Special Sections.


11. Engaging Audiences.

The Death of All Media.

A Growing Audience.

The Interactive Audience.

Audience-Oriented Forms.

Personalization: The Daily Me.

Paying for It.

Tracking Audiences.

12. Media Law Online (by Amelia Parker).

Broadcast Regulation.

Decency Online.




Obscenity and Indecency.


13. The Web Culture: Inside MSNBC.


14. Big Issues.

Galloping Technology.

The Digital Divide.


Will Newspapers Survive?

The End of Journalism as We Know It.


Appendix A: Newsgathering Techniques.

Appendix B: Journalistic Style.

Appendix C: Type and Typefaces.




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