How are magazines a communication tool?

Jens Runkehl / Peter Schlobinski / Torsten Siever
Language and communication on the Internet
Section 5: Periodicals and Magazines on the NetContent | literature
previous section | next section5.1 Periodicals and magazines on the network Hardly any publishing house to be taken seriously can still afford not to be present on the Internet. Despite the high costs and low sources of income through advertising or subscriptions, some offers are updated daily. Weekly newspapers and magazines have an advantage here, but also these, e.g. B. Focus-Online, provide their readers with constantly new information. The reason for this is an additional offer that is available in addition to the print medium: databases, net guides, weather, etc. In this area, Focus offers the largest national homepage with over 1,000 pages. On the other hand, »DIE ZEIT« is strongly oriented towards the print version; there, however, it offers more than others: the offer on the WWW is only an excerpt, but it covers a large part of the newspaper content with unabridged articles. The proximity is supported by a ›colorful page‹ called »ZEITVERTREIB ;-)« (the smiley already reveals the content), which offers a riddle, the »weekly cartoon«, glosses and a web story, among other things. DIE ZEIT is particularly committed to literature on the Internet, both with the story mentioned in several clickable chapters and with a literary competition since 1996. 5.2 Active participation in online publications touches on one of the most interesting questions for the future of online magazines and journals: Don't publishers have to incorporate the interactivity of the Internet as a medium into their work to a much greater extent? After all, there are a wide variety of communication options on the Internet. Be it through direct dialogue with the editorial team or through automation, such as the (interest-based) information filtering that is already beginning to exist when subscribing to a particular newspaper. Why, the long-term question is, netizens shouldn't also be allowed to write down the online edition; for example when they have faster and more up-to-date information directly from a crisis area? The important question of the objectivity of such 'external news particles' that must be demanded must certainly be reconsidered here. 5.3 As with every major provider, a link collection (»SIDESTEP«) should make it easier to search the global network, but this ›compilation‹ turns out to be a source of income through advertising; if someone wishes to be included in the list, which is sorted by category, he must pay for it. On the other hand, the »NEWSLETTER-KIOSK« is free of charge, a ticker arranged by category that sends selected messages to your own mailbox on request. 5.4 Some articles can be viewed on the Focus web server more than 24 hours before the magazine is published. As with Spiegel-Online, in addition to offers that are published exclusively on the web, there are also some articles that match the magazine. Even the numerous tables, additional information, summaries and interviews framed in the print medium are implemented and presented in HTML. But it is noticeable that the online version is not equivalent to the print medium, although it could offer much better accessibility to information, but is only intended to whet your appetite for it at the moment. 5.5 The Focus database is extensive - but this is often chargeable. But this also shows that the advantage of the electronic medium of being able to present masses of data better and, above all, to manage them, is still being used far too little. »In digital media there is no technical reason why a text should have a different length than what its content requires; quite in contrast to the paper cousin who squeezes or stretches until the page is filled. "(Polatschek, 1996, p. 62) 5.6 Spiegel puts up to a maximum of three articles from almost every category on the Internet; A section called »Netzwelt« was created especially for the homepage and below it, for notes, the »Forum«, comparable to the »Panorama« under »Germany« in the magazine. Articles that are classified under a different heading in the magazine than on the homepage (eg topic “Nuklearruine Mühlheim-Kärlich” in the magazine under 'Science + Technology', on the web in the section 'Abroad': Volume 3/98, 12.1 .98). 5.7 At the moment, the internet offerings of magazines and newspapers still show little independence; there is hardly any adjustment to the new WWW publication forum. Although a lot of advertising space can be rented due to its popularity, it is currently hardly worthwhile to have its own editorial team. The marketing function alone usually provides the drive for the offer, at least until an adequate billing method has been found. 5.8 Polatschek rightly asks whether the editorial offices will in the future be able to “create lively and highly topical encyclopedias instead of messing up material that has been formed to death elsewhere?” (Polatschek, 1996, p. 63). Often only focal points are shifted; but the few articles are identical to the print medium. The hope of an audio sample of an important speech or an animation instead of a dry graphic is disappointed. USA-Today, America's largest daily newspaper, has something amazing to offer: hourly reports on a larger scale than the print medium itself offers. Because this is where perhaps the greatest strength of the Internet becomes apparent, which must be a central concern of the Internet magazines to expand: the speed and thus the topicality of the information. 5.9 Ultimately, the network editions of print media of all kinds should not be seen as one-way communication media in the traditional sense if they want to offer a meaningful addition to their relatives print, television and radio. Top of page

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Ver. 1.1 from 07.01.2000