The Old World puts its own stamp on new media
By J.D. Lasica
While online journalism’s roots run deepest in the United States, dozens of European news publications have taken to the Web since the mid-’90s, and many of them now rank among the best news sites in the world.
So today we give online news in Europe its due.
First, a disclaimer: We weren’t able to capture all the different flavors of digital journalism in every corner of Europe. Some sites — such as the new-look Irish news portal Ireland.com, or Publico, the excellent news portal in Lisbon, Portugal, or Switzerland’s stand-alone Web news site 20min, the 20-minute paper online — were left out of this roundup for space reasons. Sites in Eastern Europe were bypassed because online news is still in its formative stages there.
But we were able to take a quick snapshot of online journalism’s current state of affairs by sampling the opinion of a number of respected European journalists and academics.
Most of the experts we contacted underlined the diverse, deep-seated journalism traditions that infuse new media in each country. One observer, Mark Deuze of the Amsterdam School of Communications Research, even detected a fundamental cultural difference between northern and southern European approaches to online journalism.
“In northern Europe, new media investments and multimedia platforms seem to be much more of a concerted effort, while southern European training programs and some newsrooms depend much more on inspired groups of individuals,” he says. “Southern European journalism training emphasizes the role of the journalist as a writer and artist much more than the northern European tradition, which is more vocational and professional but much less fun.”