Online Journalism: Tools and Terminology

Current journalists have more tools and terminology than ever before. Not only do they have to focus on getting and writing the story, they have to maneuver the online world to reach a modern audience. With the knowledge of social media and online content being so crucial, an online journalist must be constantly on their toes to adapt to the here and now.In fact, many  take coding classes just to try and stay up to date and receive job security from their skill set.

Online journalism is a complex system with a lot of confusing acronyms and nicknames. Here is a quick run down of the terminology used by online journalists.

One of the most confusing to me initially was knowing the difference between the words Internet and World Wide Web. The difference is that the Internet is the physical hardware that allows everything to happen, and World Wide Web refers to the software technology that creates the design of the user experience. This software is called the GUI, or graphical user interface where everything we see on screen is created and managed.

The TCP, short for transmission control protocol, is the process by which online information is transferred and allows data to pass quickly between pages.

The IP,internet protocol, and DNS, domain server name, are basically the same thing. They both are the online address for an individual. A URL, or universal resource locator, is the online address for a specific webpage. Using a URL is the easiest way to find the correct page on the web.

An RSS, short for real simple syndication, is a news wire that allows for automatic split-second results. Twitter is a great example of an RSS.

Another recent innovation made very popular by Google and Apple, the concept of using a Cloud, or external server that makes it possible to store an infinite amount of personal data in an easily accessible space. UNO uses a cloud called Blackboard that we use to share and save information between students and professors. While free and extremely convenient, the cloud is a very mysterious platform and can easily be hacked and personal information can stolen and manipulated without users even knowing. It’s important to never store personal, bank, or password information in these databases as to protect your safety and privacy.

As the rules to the game continue to change, it’s very important for journalist to be familiar with these types of tools and terminology in order to be educated and understand what is expected of them in this ever-changing field.


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