Cyberspace Sin Fronteras p. 64

By: Mark Fitzgerald Computer sessions at Hispanic journalists' conference reflect
the growing interest of Latino journalists in online services sp.

BIENVENIDOS A LA autopista informativa.
Cyberspace is taking on a Spanish accent as increasing numbers of Latino journalists are going online for investigative projects, historical background, statistical research ? and the Internet's unique ability to build community across borders.
This growing interest in online and Internet accessibility was reflected by four formal computer skill-building sessions at the recently concluded 13th annual National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in El Paso, Texas. In addition, there was continuous informal training going on during the four-day conference.
And NAHJ convention-goers also were given an interactive demonstration of LatinoNet, which bills itself as the first online service for Latino non-profit professional and educational associations.
Already a wide variety of information providers are using the Net for postings useful to Hispanic and other journalists pursuing topics of interest to Latinos. Online providers are actively courting Hispanic journalists as well.
A couple of weeks after the NAHJ convention,, the Internet node operated by the News & Observer Publishing Co. in Raleigh, N.C., conducted a two-day seminar on Internet publishing designed for Hispanic and Latin American newspaper and magazine editors and publishers.
"Sea un protagonista de la revolucion informativa. Publique en Internet. [Be a player in the information revolution. Publish on the Internet]," read the Spanish-language seminar brochures distributed widely at the NAHJ conference.
The fact that a Raleigh, N.C., newspaper is wooing Latin American and Hispanic journalists should not be surprising, however.
After all, the director of International, Rafael Bonnelly, is a native of the Dominican Republic and from a long-time publishing family.
At an NAHJ session on technology and new media sponsored by Editor & Publisher Co., Bonnelly emphasized the way online publishing is changing the job of journalists ? and how journalists of all kinds can change online publishing.
"You don't want the techies editing your newspaper ? you want the editor doing that," Bonnelly said.
Journalists, though, must overcome their almost instinctive antipathy for new media directors, Bonnelly said.
"I was just at a meeting of new media directors and they agreed their biggest problem was not getting along with newsrooms," he said.
Much of that attitude may stem from the new work demands of Internet publishing, Bonnelly said.
"The biggest challenge is getting journalists to understand that there are no more deadlines. You can now compete on timeliness with broadcasting," Bonnelly said.
New media also will demand the kind of distinctive voices that Hispanic and other minority journalists bring to the newsroom, online experts indicate.
At the new media session, for instance, America Online representative Beth Singer called electronic publishing "a totally equal medium that is very open to all."
Online information providers, Singer said, will be looking for journalists with diverse experiences to bring their own points of view to their material.
"Because the computer is an inanimate object, you really have to feel that person on the other end," Singer said. "You have to be creating a point of view that takes advantage of the community that is on the Internet."
Other online and Net features, such as a e-mail, "will help you keep in contact with your community more than distance you from them," Singer told the NAHJ session.
In addition to the new media and LatinoNet sessions, NAHJ convention-goers attended a hands-on workshop about using the Internet to research immigration issues conducted by Matt Reavy of the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting, and a computer-assisted reporting lab workshop sponsored by E&P.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here