By Akhmad Kusaeni
Technology plays important role in changing the way journalists do their job and the way people receive their news. However, the interplay between journalism and technology has never been more dramatic than the emergence of the Internet as a widespread medium of communication in the 1990s (Elliot King, 2004).
How the Internet is changing journalism? What are the impacts of the Internet on the way journalists do their jobs?
Cyber Journalists are working around the clock. People access the Internet at all hours of the day. That’s why journalists at the Detik.com (http://www.detik.com) are working within 24 hours/day and 7 days/a week. Detik.com is the real first media online in Indonesia. It is the most popular and the most credible news portal in Indonesia.
Detik.com is not serving print editions, but is being designed for Internet users. Detik is an Indonesian word for “second” and provides continuously updated news, hopefully in every second. Detik.com’s characteristics of services are short and updated news and giving priority to speed and accuracy.
“News stories are updated all the time. When important stories occur, at the same time they also appear in the web. There is an editorial policy that reporters should report breaking news as fast as possible. Sometimes we publish stories as it happens,” said Budiono Darsono, Detik.com Editor in Chief.
The Internet also changes journalism in the way it presents information. George Frajkor, retired journalism professor of Carleton University, Ottawa, said that on the web, it’s the first time a journalist has a choice: “How do I best present this item?”. Is it best presented visually? Is it best presented through sound? Or is it best presented through text? Or is it best presented as a mixture?.
Instead of having to choose between text, audio or video to get their news, now people can get it all in one place. Take a look http://www.cnn.com. On this site, people could read about the assassination of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin. People can watch video clips on how the Israeli helicopters fired missiles at Yassin’s car as he left a mosque near his house at dawn on Monday (March 21, 2004). People also might listen to CNNRADIO for the latest update.
Another thing the Internet does – better than any other medium – is provides depth. The Jakarta Post Daily (http://www.jakartapost.com), for example, provides links to wide range of useful websites from media organizations, government institutions, and foreign embassies in Jakarta to business organizations. This links give people easy access to a variety of news stories from various news sites.
If the Internet had changed the way journalists do their job, then what are the impacts of the Internet on the way people receive their news?
The Internet give people much more control over the news they receive.
Bali bombing case on October 12, 2003 is a good example on how online journalism places far more power in the hand of the user. If people missed the news surrounding the Bali bombing case, they can always catch up by checking out various online news archives. The Bali bombing case was actually happened on October 12, 2003, but several years later, Suara Pembaruan Daily (http://www.suarapembaruan.com), Kompas Daily (http://www.kompas.com), and Detik.com (http://www.detik.com) all still have their archives on the tragedy. Archives become easily accessible.
The Internet allows people to actively participate in the news and do things online. Detik.com (http://www.detik.com) provide its readers with SMS polling online and comments facility to every news and stories appear in the web. People can buy something, from movie ticket to used car, from e-commerce facility at Detik.com. This news portal also provides chatting facility to their users.
In conclusion, I quote part of John Pavlik’s article on “The Future of Online Journalism”.
“Since networked new media can be interactive, on demand, customizable; since it can incorporate new combination of text, images, moving images, and sound; since it can build new communities based on shared interests and concerns; and since it has the almost unlimited space to offer level of reportorial depth, texture, and context that are impossible in any other medium, new media can transform journalism”
Online journalism also has social and political impact. Take a look of the role of Malaysiakini.com (http://www.malaysiakini.com) in democratizing Malaysia. In Malaysia, the mainstream media rarely publish articles critical of the powers that be. That leaves Malaysia’s best-known web newspaper, Malaysiakini.com, as the country’s only credible independent voice. Malaysiakini had broken “the government’s monopoly on the truth”. Just over a year since it began operations in November 1999, the site claims 250,000 readers a day.
Malaysiakini was formed by journalists who had worked in the mainstream media, who were getting a bit fed up with the level of censorship in the mainstream media. Steven Gan, one of the founders, felt there was a need to get into an alternative medium to break self-censorship, to get across to Malaysians ... that information is not getting through.
Malaysiakini help to improve the media situation and press freedom in Malaysia. That online newspaper is putting pressures on the mainstream media by reporting things that are not being reported by mainstream media. People are able to see that there is other news that is not being reported in the mainstream media.
Budiono Darsono, email interview with author on March 22, 2004.
Elliot King, lectures and discussion on Online Journalism Course, Ateneo de Manila University, Phillipines, 2004.
George Frajkor, How the Internet is Changing Journalism: News Production,
John Pavlik, The Future of Online Journalism, Columbia Journalism Review, July/ August 1997.
 Email interview with Budiono Darsono on March 22, 2004.
 George Frajkor, How the Internet is Canging Journalism: News Production,
 John Pavlik, The Future of Online Journalism, Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1997.