Currently one of the actual trends is the development of information technology, particularly the Internet. Discussions on forums and social networks help journalists to know about preferences of the audience. Online researches on different actual issues are held. Electronic transmission makes it possible to inform the audience more effectively. In this regard, there is a proliferation of online versions of traditional mass media. Online versions of traditional media are, as a rule, supplemented and expanded versions of printed publications, use multimedia capabilities and feedback from the audience. Interactivity is becoming an important component of traditional media communication with Internet users. According to sociological research, they are represented by an age group from 18 to 34 years.
The properties and features of online media
The researchers of the media system have found the properties which distinguish online press from traditional channels of information dissemination. They are multimedia, hypertextuality and interactivity.
Multimedia means that you can give information using not only texts, but also graphics, audio and video materials.
Hypertextuality is the communication system between the individual documents via hyperlinks. It provides a unique opportunity to improve the completeness and accuracy of information.
Interactivity means multilateral information exchange with the audience. It is not only traditional letters to the editorial office.Interactivity in online media allows the user to participate in the creation of content, to discuss the most pressing issues with other readers.
Besides this, online media have the following features:
Efficiency. The network makes it possible to publish news almost instantly. Thus, online texts are always up-to-date.
Unlimited amount of editions and publications. In contradistinction to print media, on the Internet you can place an unlimited number of texts and graphic materials. As a result,the coverage of the target audience is increasing.
The ability to archive. Archives are particularly useful for news websites. When the archive is getting wider, it is formed into a very useful resource.
Availability. The online edition can be read from the any place in the world, only that you need is a computer with the Internet access.
Unrestricted geographical coverage. For online media there is no territorial boundary. Belarusian newspaper can be seen by Spaniards, for example. The only barrier is the language differences.
Low cost price. It allows to enter the Internet media market quickly and easily.
Web portal of “Zvyazda” Publishing house
Zviazda.by is a web portal which unites information space of periodicals belonging to the Publisher “Zvyazda”. They are newspapers «Zvyazda», «Lіm», «Neman», magazines «Polymya», «Maladosts», «Vozhyk», «Alesya», «Rodnayapryroda» and «Byarozka». These editions also have their own web sites. Moreover, Zviazda.by is an independent resource. It is based on the print media, but also it seeks to create its own original content, which is oriented to the several target audiences of the Internet users. The web portal’s distinctive features are interactivity and a large number of uniquehighly professional photos and videos.
On the main page of the portal you can find articles and notes that were published in the newspaper, as well as materials prepared by the Internet editors such as current news, accounts of bloggers and different special projects of “Zvyazda”.
For users who want to view all the materials of the latest newspaper’s edition there are available PDF versions.
In order to read the materials of specific topic, it is convenient to use such headings as «Politics», «Economy», «Society», «Culture», «Health» and other categories, located in the main menu of the site. Here you can find news that is not published in a hard copy. On the page of the special project «Library of «Zvyazda»» you can find information about new books of the Publishing house. Here there are comments and interviews with famous writers, poets, literary critics, information about exhibitions, events, presentations, which are held in the publishing sphere. A great deal of books is located on the web portal, so you can read or to download them.
Several new special projects have recently appeared on the web portal. For example, “Frantsisk Skarina”, where you can read publications, dedicated to one of the first book printers in Eastern Europe,Belarusian humanist, physician, translator.
The central segment of the Internet portal contains the banner of the cultural project «Consonance», which allows the Internet audience to move to a separate site dedicated to the literature and journalism of the countries of the Commonwealth. In the printed version, familiarization with this project is partially available only in the appendix to the newspaper «Zvyazda», in which, for obvious reasons, it is impossible to represent the entire spectrum of literary novelties published in the Commonwealth of Independent States. The online resource gives readers this opportunity.
A special difference between the Internet portal and traditional versions of prints is the large number of additional photographic materials that are not supposed in the conditions of traditional printing, as well as the availability of video (reportage and sketching), independent or accompanying the main text. In addition, the headings «News» and «Popular», located side by side, are convenient for Internet users, since they allow them to receive up-to-date information, which, in turn, is sorted taking into account the reader’s request. This is not possible in the context of traditional media, but it is highly demanded by an audience focused on speed of access, inclusiveness and at the same time brevity of current information.
In addition, users can make suggestions and comments about the web portal. They also can get in touch with the editors by e-mail.
The properties of the audience of online mass media
The social portrait of the network user affects the development of the Internet media market. Such portrait was made by sociologists.
In the article «Print media of Russia and Belarus on the Internet» Alexander Gradyushko, a Belarussian researcher of web-journalism, writes:
«Nowadays the popularity of traditional news papers decreases. So in order to maintain readers, a large number of print media have created quite competitive sites. On the Internet every event is covered in all possible formats, such as texts, photos, videos, infographics, discussions and other. The problem is that not all editors can afford such a multidimensional approach.
The situation abroad is quite different. There the online version contains only 40-50% of the publications which can be found in the print newspaper. Other information is prepared by the journalists exclusively for the site.
There are some mistakes made by the editors of many Belarusian state-owned media. For example, a large array of text on the same page makes it difficult to read. Articles are published without breaking down into paragraphs, the fine print is used. The materials have no illustrations».
It is important to note that there are no such mistakes in “Zvyazda” web portal. In this regard, we note that the Internet portal of the Publishing House «Zvyazda» does not allow such errors in the presentation of information and its graphical presentation: the texts are divided into paragraphs and columns, the font is convenient for perception, the color spectrum is laconic (it is dominated by red and black), the articles are submitted in separated structural units.
The article goes on to say: «For the development of the web projects the state support is necessary, as well as inclusion in the staff of the newspapers such positions as web journalist and web editor. It would allow to update the newspaper’s website in real time, would help to increase the attendance and profitability.
In modern conditions traditional media should also interact with social networks. There are some examples. Plane crash in the Hudson River near New York City, the earthquake in Haiti, the terrorist attacks in the Moscow subway ― all these events of the past years were covered in the social media earlier than in traditional press. Professional journalists only selected and tested this information».
Thus, the main features of online journalism are multimedia, hypertextuality and interactivity. Due to the decreasing of the print newspapers’popularity, traditional media make their own web portals. It allows to engage the audience and to expand the transmission of information.
The author: Evseichik Anna, a third-yeared student,
The technical editor: Maxim Nesterkov, а first-yeared student.