The shift from print media to online media does not have to compromise the quality of journalism, said former CEO of Vivanews.co.id news portal Karaniya Dharmasaputra.
Contrary to common perceptions, the current editor-in-chief of investor news site Bareksa.com said that even on online news portals, journalistic codes of conduct still apply.
"We still need to confirm the data, whatever the medium is. [...] Online news does stress very much on speed, but my rule is at least every piece of news published has to be edited," he said during a visit to The Jakarta Post's office on Tuesday.
He stated that online media could provide the advantage of publishing in-depth coverage and displaying infographics that went beyond the limits imposed by print media. He cited The Washington Post's 2004-2006 special report on former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's bribery scandal published on its website as what inspired him to start his own online media company.
Current technology can also shed light on the news preferred by the readers. During his time managing the news portal, Karaniya found that good news such as inspiring human interest stories and achievements did attract clicks, instead of the old "bad news is good news" rule. The same phenomenon applied to seemingly heavy subjects such as science and technology and nationalism-related news.
"Back then, our data showed that news on science and technology could beat the number of clicks for news on dangdut singer Ayu Ting Ting," he said.
The key, he thought, was in the way the news was presented.
"The more we combine the mediums, the more likely it will be effective," he said.
People consume more media in many forms simultaneously, with fragmented attention, as shown by Nielsen Consumer and Media View 2012 data. It means people use the Internet while watching TV and playing with gadgets at the same time.
The use of video, for example, might help reach a broader audience. Indonesia held ninth place in highest online video engagement globally with more than 8.7 million total unique video viewers based on comScore Video Metrix information in June 2012.
He urged the media not to think only about news content itself. Reporters should receive multimedia training such as photo editing to attract online readers amid the flood of information from scores of media outlets.
"In online media, the barrier of distribution is almost zero. It's a free-fight competition," he said.
The phenomenon in online media leads to new distribution methods, namely that today's media should go to where readers are rather than make readers come to them. News portals should bridge the connection between their website and social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, where many potential readers are, he concluded.