The results of the three studies I conducted revealed a conflict: the online journalism newsrooms are orientated to constant and fast content creation which does not promote neither online-specific nor thorough treatment of topics.
Editorial managers expect the writers to publish a lot in a short time span, but not that the stories published are of high-quality, trustworthy and require journalistic or other skills.
It is true that at the beginning of the 2000s, when social media was not so common yet, there were readers that were constantly refreshing the web sites of media publications to get something new.
Today, social media offers a continual flow of something new and the heavy users almost do not exist any more.
Professional journalistic content is separated from all other information spread in the media space by its creation process during which the journalist makes the story newsworthy, i.e.
separates what is important from the less important, is critical when choosing sources, checks facts, focuses and formalises information to make it clear and unequivocal.In other words, what are the audience’s expectations to online journalism.This information is necessary to create a comparison point between the audience’s expectations to the skills of the journalist and the skills actually applied in work processes.“People have come to Pirita Yacht Harbour to secure their vessels so the storm would hurt them much.” This headline was published on the Delfi news site on 26 September.Such mistakes happen very easily and not because the writer is uneducated or illiterate, but because of the conditions the writer has to work in.“Keeping the line”, for example, has been spread throughout all Estonian media houses.Some editorial managers explained the need for this with the so-called heavy users or the readers always hungry for something new and clicking the refresh button.We found that, among other things, the readers primarily expect a comprehensive and thorough coverage, but also content that is created masterfully and diversely using the specifics of the web as a platform.And the audience is definitely not willing to pay for “units” containing information that can be found on Google for free.One of the most important results of my doctoral thesis is the knowledge that there is a significant difference between what the editorial managers expect the online journalist to be capable of, and which skills the journalist is actually able to use in their work.This is due to the work organisation and practices in newsrooms.