Online journalism

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Online journalism (also known as online journalism ) combines classic journalistic forms of presentation with typical online possibilities for interaction and communication . The structure principle is the non-linear hypertext or hypermedia , typical are teasers ( teasers ).

First of all, online journalistic offers arose as an Internet presence for already existing media. Pure online portals such as T-Online and AOL were added from the mid-1990s. The “ web-first principle ” now often also applies to classic press products.

working area

Online journalism includes:


As hypertext, online media are either hierarchically or non-sequentially structured in a network. In contrast to newspapers (which can also be browsed through) or radio , their text, image, film and sound contributions do not have such a predetermined order. Nevertheless, the start page ( homepage ), teasers or the placement on the individual website can draw the user's attention ( web text ). Since Google has strongly influenced the behavior of many users through its search engine results, search engine optimized writing has become important in online journalism.

Online journalism offers are potentially multimedia. The online journalists choose suitable forms of representation for a topic and implement it in a media-appropriate manner (text, image, sound, film). Space and time restrictions are practically eliminated; Storage space and transmission capacity are no longer restrictions today.

Many processes in online journalism are identical to those in offline journalism : topic selection, research , content production, editing, etc. However, online media do not have an editorial deadline unless it is set. The technology enables constant updating of content, including the correction of already published articles, but also multiple use of content ( syndication ).

The typical online communication options let the recipients - e.g. B. in the sense of Brecht'sradio theory ” - actively participate yourself ( newsgroups , blogs , wikis , podcasting , grassroots journalism ). This originally enabled citizens to bring their issues to the media. The established media nowadays use such user-generated content to bind readers and papers.

In contrast to the print media, which have been under financial pressure for years (be it because they hardly generate any returns or because publishers expect more than the returns actually generated), online journalism is perceived as having a promising future. Classic publishers such as the Axel Springer Verlag or the Spiegel Group are increasingly offering editorial content for a fee. Other providers like or Handelsblatt had done this long before them.

Forms of representation

Two categories of online journalistic forms of presentation can be distinguished:

1. The classic sender-oriented forms can be called up from the web server and often also commented on (therefore also interactive ). They come from the classic journalistic mass media such as the press and electronic media , but have changed due to the online medium.


  • The informative forms of presentation such as notification, message, report, as well as the report and the network dossier, but also the newsletter , see also web text .
  • Commentary forms of representation, such as criticism or gloss ; Example: Bastian Sicks column " Onion Fish " at Spiegel Online. Comments usually appear online as user contributions.
  • Service articles such as advice texts, questionnaires and surveys make up an essential part of journalistic online offers. Such applications as self-tests or salary calculators are often based on databases.
  • Audio slideshow - a combination of animated photos with a sound track.

2. Communication-oriented, on the other hand, are those forms in which at least two users exchange views, from e-mail to the discussion forum to chat. This includes blogs as well as wikis or podcasting , i.e. the entire user-generated content . Although some of them are older than the web , they are occasionally summarized under the keyword Web 2.0 . All of these forms are modular components of an online community . When the relationships between users come to the fore - their networking, mutual evaluations, sharing photos, videos, bookmarks, etc. a. one speaks of folksonomy .


  • Blogs link the chronological diary with hypermedia and a simple content management system (CMS). One or more users publish in the blog what they think is worth sharing (text, image, audio, video), others comment on it. Blogs are increasingly perceived as a medium that contributes to promoting freedom of the press. Some even win prizes for their contribution to press freedom as a form of online journalism, e.g. B. at The BOBs .
  • Podcasting : The users put audio or video contributions online, evaluate them and network them with one another.
  • Wikis work with a standardized CMS. It allows decentralized, hierarchy-free working with hypertext: All users can create new posts, edit existing ones and link them to one another.
  • E-mail represents the basis of communication between users and editors, as well as between users. Related forms are SMS and multimedia MMS via mobile communication.
  • Mailing lists enable the exchange of ideas via e-mail within a thematically defined community.
  • Web forums go back to the classic Internet service of newsgroups : Inquiries and offers are published like a bulletin board (mostly moderated forums).
  • When chat chat (English to chat. Cackle) any number of users using the keyboard together. Online journalistic chats are almost always moderated. In addition to pure text chat, there are forms with multimedia effects: three-dimensional figures, images and sound.
  • Journalists and editorial offices use social media offers such as Facebook or Twitter for research and public relations .
  • Virtual worlds such as Second Life , in which the media world and its user communication unfold a life of its own alongside the real one, can be considered a further development .


Online journalists are expected to have in-depth knowledge and skills in the use of hardware and software . While HTML knowledge was indispensable in the early days of online journalism , thanks to the development of content management, employees in the online editorial department can now concentrate more on their journalistic and conceptual tasks. This includes above all syndication , the exchange of digital content (see also XML , web feed ).

In addition to the ability to work with WYSIWYG editors, know-how in the area of search engine optimization is also expected. In addition, there is increasing knowledge of digital image processing as well as audio and video processing ( download , streaming media ).

With tablet journalism , the user of mobile devices is involved in the work on user-generated content , for example by uploading pictures or comments and then making them available to other users as part of the reporting.


Media websites often mix editorial content and advertising in an improper manner. It is often not transparent for the user where it is paid (advertising) or editorial content.

Many online journalistic offers have been criticized for insufficiently exploiting the possibilities of multimedia, i.e. the choice of the most suitable communication channel. Going further, there is also hardly any online journalism by publishing houses other than secondary use of print news.

Lack of transparency of the sources: Copy-and-paste journalism neglects research to an even greater extent than offline media. On the one hand, content is often taken from Internet sources without being checked. On the other hand, as in classic journalism, information often comes from other offline media or from agency and press reports, is accepted uncritically and later corrections or denials are missed by them. In the case of an online post that has been updated several times, it often remains unclear to the user how the original information was changed in the course of the day and why.

In 2008, the German Press Council extended the scope of the press code and thus self-regulation to include online journalism outside of broadcasting.

The Stuttgarter Zeitung demonstrated how problematic online journalism can be on January 28, 2012. During a test run of a technical changeover, the online editorial team posted a dummy text with the headline “Merkel resigns”. The fictitious text was available on the Internet for a quarter of an hour. The editors later apologized for this mishap.


Despite the great care taken by journalists and editorial staff, it has happened and still happens that newspapers publish incorrect reports. Sometimes the published “misinformation” develops a life of its own and suppresses the actually correct information. Some online pages therefore offer correspondence links such as "Report a bug in the article"; others respond to feedback that readers send to the email address given in the legal notice. Sometimes this change is also made transparent. The faster an error is discovered and corrected, the fewer readers will read incorrect information.


The Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences (h_da) has been offering the online journalism course since the winter semester 2001 (initially a diploma course, now a bachelor’s degree). In addition to theoretical and practical journalistic knowledge for print, TV and radio journalists, online-specific content is taught. In the main course, students can choose between the focus on online journalism and public relations. At the Technical University of Cologne there is the "Online Editor" course. Since the 2008/2009 winter semester, the Leipzig School of Media has been offering the “New Media Journalism” master’s course alongside work. Editors are trained here in particular with regard to the specific requirements of online journalism and cross-media publishing. Since September 2010 the SAE Institute has been offering the “Digital Journalism Diploma” course.

The Munich Academy of Journalists has full-time courses of six months as well as part-time courses in five modules on online journalism , video journalism and press work cross-media .

See also


  • Alkan, Saim Rolf: 1x1 for online editors for online editors and online copywriters: Entry into online journalism. Businessvillage, Göttingen 2006. ISBN 3-938358-36-X
  • Gabriele Hooffacker : Online journalism. Writing and designing for the Internet. A Manual for Education and Practice. 4. unchangeable Edition. Springer VS , Wiesbaden 2015, ISBN 978-3-658-10771-0 , e-book: ISBN 978-3-658-10771-0
  • Martin Löffelholz , Thorsten Quandt, Thomas Hanitzsch, Klaus-Dieter Altmeppen: Online journalists in Germany. Central findings of the first representative survey of German online journalists. In: Media Perspektiven 10/2003, pp. 477–486
  • Nea Matzen: Online journalism , 3rd edition, Konstanz 2014 (Journalism Guide, Volume 8), ISBN 978-3-86764-226-2 ; ISSN  1866-5365
  • Klaus Meier (ed.): Internet journalism. 3rd revised and expanded edition. UVK, Constance 2002
  • Johannes M. Müller: Online Journalism . In: Gert Ueding (ed.): Historical dictionary of rhetoric . Darmstadt: WBG 1992ff., Vol. 10 (2012), Col. 755-768.
  • Netzwerk Recherche (Ed.): Online journalism: Future paths and dead ends. Feb. 2011. ISBN 978-3-942891-00-4 (PDF)
  • Christoph Neuberger , Christian Nuernbergk, Melanie Rischke: Journalism on the Internet: Between Profession, Participation and Technology. Results of a DFG research project. In: Media Perspectives Issue 4/2009 (PDF; 164 kB)
  • Christoph Neuberger, Christian Nuernbergk, Melanie Rischke (eds.): Journalism on the Internet. Profession - Participation - Mechanization , Wiesbaden 2009. ISBN 978-3-531-15767-2
  • Christoph Neuberger, Jan Tonnemacher (Ed.): Online - The future of the newspaper? The engagement of German daily newspapers on the Internet. 2nd completely revised and updated edition. West German Publishing House, Wiesbaden 2003
  • Thorsten Quandt: Journalists on the Net. Publishing house for social sciences, Wiesbaden 2005
  • Thorsten Quandt: Article online journalism. In: S. Weischenberg, HJ Kleinsteuber, B. Pörksen (Ed.): Handbook of Journalism and Media . UVK, Konstanz 2005, pp. 337–342.
  • Björn Staschen: Mobile journalism. Wiesbaden, Springer VS , Journalistische Praxis series 2016, ISBN 9783658117825

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Print media are preparing for online journalism. ( Memento of the original from March 12, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Beyond-Print. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Stefan Niggemeier : Should we bring the nicest numbers between 1 and 10,000? Or a hundred navel? How online journalism is squandering its authority. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, July 13, 2008
  3. Press release of the German Press Council  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , March 2008, cf. also the amended statutes with the addition: "(...) complaints about individual newspapers, magazines or press services and journalistic-editorial telemedia of the press as well as other telemedia with journalistic-editorial content outside of the radio" (...)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  4. Breakdown in online edition - "Stuttgarter Zeitung" reports Merkel's resignation. In: , January 27, 2012, accessed April 1, 2017
  5. Technical breakdown - We apologize. In: , January 27, 2012, accessed on April 1, 2017
  6. Example:
  7. Table of contents, information on the book, excerpts