Begini Cara Media-media Ini Bisa Bertahan dan Hasilkan Laba Tanpa Taktik Clickbait

KITA SEMUA TAHU apa itu “clickbait”. Judul berita (konten) yang menggoda untuk diklik karena membangkitkan emosi dan perasaan tertentu dalam diri pembacanya. Jangankan orang awam yang berpendidikan rata-rata, mereka yang tergolong intelektual dan berpemikiran dewasa dan matang saja kadang terperosok ke jebakan satu ini. Kenapa? Karena clickbait menyasar ke elemen emosi manusia, bukan akal. Mereka berupaya memuaskan emosi-emosi yang tak tersalurkan dan hasrat itu cuma bisa disalurkan hanya dengan satu tap (di layar ponsel) atau klik (di laptop atau desktop).

Saat ini clickbait sudah menjadi taktik yang lumrah dan murah(an). Tinggal mengutak-atik judul menjadi bombastis dan sedikit menipu, pembaca pasti gatal mengklik.

Tapi kita tahu bahwa cara semacam itu akan ada akhir masa efektifnya. Orang makin terlatih untuk mengenali judul-judul yang menjebak. Dan meskipun sebagian pembaca memang tidak jera jatuh di ‘perangkap’ yang sama, sebagian lainnya sudah mengenali betul judul-judul konten tipe clickbait dan meninggalkannya tanpa ingin sekalipun membaca.

Saya sendiri sebagai seorang jurnalis di era media baru sekarang ini makin jengah juga dengan kondisi jurnalisme yang makin semrawut. Siapa saja bisa mempublikasikan pendapat dan pemikiran mereka di internet dan tidak peduli apakah itu memang layak dipublukasikan atau tidak, pokoknya ada yang baca dan mengklik lalu ada yang mau beriklan, sudah baguslah.

Tanggung jawab terhadap kemaslahatan masyarakat yang membaca seolah dikesampingkan, kalau tidak bisa dikatakan diabaikan sama sekali.

Dan yang paling mencemaskan, perusahaan media lama yang sejak lama sudah punya nama besar dan reputasi baik di mata masyarakat lama-lama juga larut ke dalam pusaran tren clickbait ini.

Saya pernah mendengarkan sekelompok jurnalis dari perusahaan media tertentu yang mengeluhkan rekan-rekan mereka di segmen daring (alias para wartawan online) yang secara bebas memanipulasi judul berita sedemikian rupa tanpa mempertimbangkan faktor lain kecuali hitungan ditampilkannya sebuah laman web atau pageviews. Mereka ini jurnalis-jurnalis dari era media lama yang menyayangkan ‘pengkhianatan’ yang dilakukan rekan-rekan mereka di media baru.

Apakah clickbait itu salah?

Tentu tidak serta merta salah. Jurnalisme bukan bidang yang tidak membutuhkan modal besar (apalagi jika ingin melakukannya dalam koridor jurnalisme yang sebenarnya). Produk jurnalisme yang berkualitas bagus dihasilkan dengan biaya yang tinggi, waktu yang relatif lama dan melibatkan banyak pihak (tidak cuma kutip satu sumber lalu klik ‘publish’). Bisnis media juga bukan jenis bisnis yang bisa dilakukan sembarang orang. Perlu keterampilan dan pengalaman dalam melakukannya.

Hanya saja masalahnya ialah cara untuk meraup untung agar bisa bertahan hidup itulah yang melenceng dari hakikat jurnalisme semula.

Judul-judul clickbait sudah semestinya tidak menjadi andalan utama media-media saat ini untuk menarik pengunjung dan melejitkan hitungan pageviews.

Berikut adalah beberapa media yang terbukti sukses memanfaatkan strategi lain yang lebih kreatif dan menarik daripada sekadar memperbanyak pageviews melalui judul-judul yang menyesatkan dan isi/ konten yang kurang edukatif, informatif dan terkesan asal.

“Le Un” memang nomor wahid dalam hal menyajikan informasi dalam bentuk dan desain cetak yang menarik dan unik.

LE UN

Perusahaan media bernama “Le Un” (Satu) ini mengandalkan cita rasa seni untuk mengemas kontennya agar menarik pembaca. Media ini menggabungkan seniman dengan penulis-penulis. Le Un yang terbit mingguan ini berbentuk mirip sebuah peta raksasa yang dilipat dengan apik, memakai kertas yang mengkilap dan font yang rapi dan elegan. Konon format dan bentuk itu didapat dari poster propaganda yang turut membentuk sejarah Prancis modern seperti sekarang. Dan teks di dalamnya tidak mendominasi. Justru konten teks disajikan secara harmonis dengan grafis dan ilustrasi serta foto yang warna-warni sehingga tidak menjemukan pembaca. Ada komik, cerpen, kolom dan konten lain yang biasa ada dalam surat kabar atau majalah.

SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG MAGAZIN

Majalah dari Jerman ini lain dari majalah lazimnya. Apa pasal? Sampul-sampulnya dihiasi dengan karya seni abstrak yang menggelitik keingintahuan calon pembelinya. Hal ini diakui sebagai kelebihan yang menjual bagi majalah tersebut karena banyak media mengandalkan foto dan ilustrasi yang terlalu gamblang untuk dipahami di sampul depan.  

Sebagai konsekuensinya, Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazin tidak bisa sembarangan memilih gambar sampul. Berbagai pilihan ditentukan secara cermat oleh seorang direktur seni yang berpengalaman. Dan penyunting kepala (editor in-chief) harus bekerja secara selaras dengan direktur seni tadi agar tercipta sampul yang memukau calon pembeli.

Monocle, majalah yang kemudian berkembang menjadi bisnis media yang komplit.

MONOCLE

Tahun 2007, majalah Monocle diluncurkan dengan konten yang global. Kini dengan jumlah pembaca yang makin besar, mereka mengandalkan komunitasnya sebagai daya tarik utama. Dengan kata lain, para pembaca diperlakukan secara istimewa dengan memberikan mereka banyak kesempatan untuk menghadiri event khusus pelanggan majalah tersebut saja. Layanan yang prima juga menggenjot daya saing di tengah persaingan yang tiada ampun di industri media.

Konten-konten di situs web dan majalahnya sama sekali tidak dibumbui headline yang terlalu ‘merangsang’. Mereka tetap berpegang teguh pada prinsip jurnalisme yang berimbang dan gaya penuturan yang bercerita (storytelling).

Tidak cuma web dan majalah, Monocle juga menyediakan kanal komunikasi radio, Monocle 24, yang disiarkan dari kantor pusat mereka di Midori House, London.

Tidak bisa dipungkiri Monocle memang menyasar segmen terbatas, yakni mereka yang tidak sungkan menghabiskan sejumlah uang untuk menikmati hidup dengan kualitas yang prima. (foto: Monocle/*)

How to Get the New Generation of Journalists TOTALLY SCREWED

Technology is never guilty. But still most people claim it’s a double-edged sword. I crack a smile. These people are mostly as f*cked up as the problem they’re talking about.

As ridiculous as it may sound, we might need to recall how all this mess in journalism currently is blamed on the surge of information technology. To me, it sounds like a fool trying to blame his own foolishness. Human race is just looking for a scapegoat, naturally. Because technology can’t avenge! Or at least talk to the creator back.

No one can rephrase the whole chaos in journalism industry any better like Jason Calacanis, a media entrepreneur cum seasoned journalist, does. And yes, nowadays journalism is also a field of industry. Like any other industries, it must generate profits, which at times sacrifices its then-highly-valued principles.

Here’s what I can sum up from Calacanis’ thought about the mess that the fresh, newer generation of journalists have to work and live with.

First of all, to screw new journalists’ work ethics and lives in general, you as an employer have to put too much pressure on these budding journos. Put the pressure with no mercy AT ALL.

Calacanis points out that more than 75% of the new generation of journalists out there are under pressure. Geez, he’s wrong in that almost all journalists are always under pressure, so are the churnalists (you know what churnalism means, I suppose). Pressure free is almost always impossible, except if a journalist writes for sheer fun. Yet, I agree with his idea that new journalists are now even more and more miserable under the inhumane demand of their employers.

“We know that a simple headline, factually correct, factually stated, accurate, does NOT drive traffic. But deception, lying, playing with words, bending the truth raises the number of tweets. What’s the impact on active journalism? Is this sending us in the wrong direction?!!” he questioned.

Another thing to make these new journalists screwed is leave them work days and nights without mentors. By mentors, I mean people who have the know-how, real experiences and time and resources to share with these poor young journalists.

Next, once they have no appropriate mentors, you can also strip them off their editorial assistance. That means they’re allowed to publish whatever they want to publish without any substantial copy editing done and rigorous fact checking the way old school journalists used to do.

Also, you have to push them. Like really really PUSH them to publish MORE content FASTER than their predecessors and at the same time remind them of maintaining VERY HIGH quality standard of journalism. Calacanis said they all are “a recipe for disaster”.

That way, if our new journalists make mistakes, offend people, or spread bogus news all over the world, they have no choice but take the blame.

That said, a mini apocalypse is on the way. To say the least, maybe democracy is falling apart.

But who cares?

(Image credit: Wikimedia)

An Open Letter to Some Moronic, Stubborn So-called "Media Intrapreneur"

ev

Dear media intrapreneur,

You’re such an underperformer, even to admit you suck at leading in the first place. You know almost nothing about the industry and business you make money from and still you think you know it all and you’re pretty successful. Don’t you know you’ve always been our target of mockery for being so delusional. It’s delusional, as we all know, as we know who you really are in reality.

The first time I saw you, you claimed yourself to be an advisor. That was impressive back then. Now, I almost puke every time I remember that. Not that you’re disgusting in apperance or manner. But it’s more about what you talk and walk are quite different. You’d opened my eyes that not only males can brag. Females have the potentials as well. And I thank you for that.

First of all, I won’t call you an entrepreneur. Even in your wildest dream. But if I do, believe me it’s just a pure, honest insult for you.

I initially wanted to send you this piece. A very important piece of writing Evan Williams titled “Pageviews are Obsolete”. But I digressed. I’m so convinced your conviction that hits is everything is ARCHAIC, FOOLISH, SHEER REPRESENTATION OF YOUR LACK OF EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE ON MEDIA INDUSTRY.

But anyway, I’ll let you know his writing. Here it is.

Remember when web site traffic was talked about in terms of “hits”? You’d read about how many millions of hits Netscape got per month and other sites bragged about getting 30,000 hits a day. Eventually, we moved away from the term hit because everyone realized it was pretty meaningless. You see, a hit was often counted (depending on who was counting them) not just for a page load, but for every element (e.g., graphic) included on the page, as well. One visit of this page, for example, would be worth about 40 hits (if the browser had images turned on). But a site that was less graphical and had equal usage would register half the hits.
Pageviews replaced hits as the primary traffic metric not just because they’re more meaningful, but because it also determined how many ads could be served. Ads were sold primarily on a CPM basis, so multiply your CPM by every 1,000 pageviews you got, and that’s your dot-com revenue.
Reach (number of unique visitors) is also important, of course. comScore/Media Metrix uses uniques as its primary metric, because mainstream advertisers want to reach a lot of people, not just the same people over and over. You can also get pageviews, time spent, and several other data points from Media Metrix, but if you’re the number one site on MM, it’s because you have the most unique visitors for the month. Of course, if uniques were all that mattered, Blogger.com would be considered as big as MySpace by some accounts:

Whereas, if you look at pageviews, MySpace dominates:

That’s why Alexa Rank is a combination of Reach + Pageviews, so you get something like this:

But it’s this pageviews part that I think needs to be more seriously questioned. (This is not an argument that Blogger is as popular as MySpace — it’s not.) Pageview counts are as suseptible as hit counts to site design decisions that have nothing to do with actual usage. As Mike Davidson brilliantly analyzed in April, part of the reason MySpace drives such an amazing number of pageviews is because their site design is so terrible.
As Mike writes: “Here’s a sobering thought: If the operators of MySpace cleaned up the site and followed modern interface and web application principles tomorrow, here’s what the graph would look like:”

Mike assumes a certain amount of Ajax would be involved in this more-modern MySpace interface, which is part of the reason for the pageview drop. And, as the Kiko guys wrote in their eBay posting, their pageview numbers were misleading because the site was built with Ajax. (Note: It’s really easy to track Ajax actions in Google Analytics for your own edification.)
But Ajax is only part of the reason pageviews are obsolete. Another one is RSS. About half the readers of this blog do so via RSS. I can know how many subscribers I have to my feed, thanks to Feedburner. And I can know how many times my feed is downloaded, if I wanted to dig into my server logs. But I don’t get to count pageviews for every view in Google Reader or Bloglines or LiveJournal or anywhere else I’m syndicated.
Another reason: Widgets. The web is becoming increasingly widgetized — little bits of functionality from one site are displayed on many others. The purveyors of a widget can track how many times their javascript of flash file is loaded elsewhere — but what does that mean? If you get a widget loaded in a sidebar of a blog without anyone paying attention to it, that’s not worth anything. But if you’re YouTube, and someone’s watching a whole video and perhaps even an ad you’re getting paid for, that’s something else entirely. But is it a pageview?
Pageviews were never a great measure of popularity. A simple javascript form validation can easily cut down on pageviews (and save users time), while a useless frameset can pump up your numbers. But with the proliferation of Ajax, RSS, and widgets, pageviews are even more silly to pay much attention to — even as we’re all obsessed with them.
It’s about Time
So what’s a better measurement? Good question. Like many good questions, the answer is “it depends.” If you’re talking about what’s important to pay attention to on your own site, you have to determine what your primary success criteria are and measure that as best you can. For some sites, that could be subscribers, or paying users, or revenue, or widgets deployed, or files uploaded, or what have you. It may even be pageviews.
At Blogger, we determined that our most critical metric was number of posts. An increase in posts meant that people were not just creating blogs, but updating them, and more posts would drive more readership, which would drive more users, which would drive more posts. Of course, posts alone wasn’t our only measure, because someone could have written an automated posting script to fill up our database (which some did), and by that metric, we’re happy about it. So we paid attention to pageviews and posts per user and user drop off, and other things.
Of course, we all want to know how we’re doing compared to other people/sites/companies, so internal metrics aren’t enough. And things like Media Metrix and Alexa are paid attention to by investors, and advertisers, and acquirers, and the press. So some apples-to-apples comparison is useful. If I had to pick one, in addition to unique visitors, I’d say time spent would be much more useful than pageviews.
After all, everyone’s competing for a bigger share of the one scarce resource, which is people’s attention (although it is a growing resource, because people keep making babies, and those babies keep getting Internet connections). More or less, what you need is people’s attention before you can meet whatever goals you have.
Time spent interacting with a site is a much better basis on which to compare sites’ relative ability to capture attention/value than pageviews is. When it comes to media like audio or video, an increasing percentage of the web consumption, time obviously means a great deal more than a pageview.
However, time is a bit harder to measure. HTTP, being stateless, doesn’t actually have a concept of time spent. If you read this whole post and then click off to another site, my web server won’t know whether you were here for five minutes or five seconds. However, most web analytics packages do estimate time spent (as does Media Metrix). (The Alexa toolbar could actually measure it even better.)
Widgets are still a bit tricky, because a user may or may not be paying any attention to a widget that’s on a page they’re viewing. If you could measure time spent interacting with a widget (or media being streamed through the widget), that would be ideal. RSS consumption is harder to measure by time, but there are other efforts to measure attention in that realm.
[Added:] Finally, there’s a big argument against time as a measure: People don’t spend much time on Google search, because it gives them what they want so fast, and they go away. Which is obviously good for them and for users. Of course, Google doesn’t drive many pageviews per visit either, but it’s so good people return again and again. So aggregate time is probably still high. But just as pageviews can be gamed, you can slow your users down unecessarily (or accidentally because your servers are too slow) and increase time spent. In the long run, this is going to be bad for you, but it would screw up a market that paid too much attention to time spent, just as much as BS pageview counts do now.
In summary, there’s no easy solution. There’s a big opportunity (though very tough job) for someone to come up with a meaningful metric that weighs a bunch of factors. But no matter what, there will come a time when no one who wants to be taken seriously will talk about their web traffic in terms of “pageviews” any more than one would brag about their “hits” today.

[Originally published at evhead.com.]

If it doesn’t change your views on how you manage your business, I have no idea what will.

BBM Mulai 'Umbar' PIN Anda ke Pengguna BBM Lain?

There’s no free lunch. Menjadi seorang pengguna layanan jejaring sosial saat ini memang butuh kesabaran. Mengapa? Karena gratis dan praktisnya jejaring sosial harus ditebus dengan privasi yang terusik tanpa peringatan.

Seperti yang terjadi pada saya beberapa hari lalu.

Tiba-tiba PIN BBM saya mendapatkan notifikasi baru yang menunjukkan seseorang sudah menambahkan saya sebagai temannya. Tunggu, siapa orang ini? Saya tidak merasa mengenalnya. Dan memang ia juga tidak mengenal saya.

Usut punya usut, si pengguna BBM di iPhone itu baru mendapatkan pembaruan aplikasi yang menawarkan pertemanan baru dengan kontak-kontak LinkedIn miliknya yang terintegrasi dengan daftar kontak smartphone berplatform iOS itu. Dan saya ada dalam daftar teman di LinkedIn orang tersebut. Saya tidak bisa memastikan kebenarannya karena saya kebetulan cuma menggunakan BlackBerry dan Android.

Terlepas dari benar tidaknya keterangan itu, saya masih bertanya bagaimana bisa LinkedIn dan BBM bekerja sama? Dan mengapa BBM dengan mudah mengumbar PIN saya ke orang lain? Tetapi kemudian setelah dipikir lagi, itu adalah salah saya sendiri yang menjadikan orang itu sebagai teman saya di LinkedIn. Untungnya, orang yang menambahkan saya menjadi temannya itu adalah orang yang baik-baik, tidak macam-macam, apalagi berniat negatif meski awalnya saya menaruh curiga. Benarkah karena fitur terbaru aplikasi BBM for iOS atau apa?

Bagaimana dengan Anda? Apakah mengalami hal serupa?

The Future of Investigative Journalism and Its Challenges in Indonesia

IFC seminarI am a self-proclaimed (pseudo) journalist. I have no journalism membership card or such a thing to show people that I am one. That explains why I prefer calling myself a blogger, or a citizen journalism activist, enthusiast. An euphimism of being a mediocre journo, so to speak.

In Indonesia, which seems to be one of the emerging nations in terms of press freedom (instead of press independence and quality), things are changing a lot in the recent decade. The breeze of press freedom is the best we can have after the ordeals the nation had gone through in Soeharto Regime. I as a high school student at the time when Soeharto was dethroned recall the euphoria. New mass media mushroomed, thrived and almost everyone enjoyed this, with perhaps the public officials as an exceptional group. The transparency and press as one of the democracy pillars just like were dreams coming true.

Yet, the Internet also brings along a bunch of consequences for the nation in general. One of the most prominent is that Indonesia is now facing a crisis. What crisis was he fussing about? Indonesia, if you may not be conversant with the press development of the country, is in dire need of more qualified journalists who are capable of dissecting and analyzing news without sacrificing journalism code of conducts and work ethics. As Antara (Indonesia’s news agency) CEO Syafid Hadi put it, Indonesia badly needs these competent young journalists. He added that most of the novice journos he has encountered are familiar with a great deal of current issues but only in superficial fashion.

Instant journalism, as best shown and exemplified by the most celebrated and most frequently accessed new site in the country Detik.com founded by Budiono Darsono (another typical Javanese gentleman’s name other than the vice president’s), has surged. Ade Armando argued, “Some blame the crisis on the rise of detik-like journalism, which emphasizes more on the speed than accuracy.” He, along with other well known figures in Indonesian press, spoke to the audience of a seminar on good governance, journalism ethics, and investigative journalism at Kempinski Hotel, Jakarta, Tuesday (May 21st, 2013).

Armando did make a good point there. I myself experienced this first hand, almost on daily basis. Online journalism as shown by Detik to a certain extent has oversimplified the real meaning of journalism.

I asked Syaiful Hadi as he sat down next to me after delivering his opening remarks that morning in an overly air-conditioned ball room,” But sir, is it possible investigative journalism like this applicable to online news sites? I doubt that… Everyone knows we online journos must generate like 8-10 pieces of content every single working day” He bit his lips, looking uncertain with what words he should’ve picked to address my query, “Maybe you’re right. This is just not for every and each press institution.” Considering how exhaustive the research and field investigation needed for one high quality, objective report may become, online journos cannot risk losing their job because of the time consuming investigative writing. I, too, cannot do this at work.

It is no wonder that analyst Ade Armando called this: “luxury”. It is such a luxury for a journalist to be provided time to solely focus on producing an investigative report like the ones which Tempo Magazine (known for its earth-shattering headlines and highly investigative content) has been publishing despite sporadic mass purchases done stealthily by some unknown buyers (presumably people who are not in favor of the news in it) or sudden raids and night attacks by criminals doing that for pay.

And the luxury can only be served to these aspiring journos by their decision makers, like-minded leaders at our workplaces, meaning not all employers, stakeholders, etc. can enjoy it. Most of journos will work and are working and will keep on working like reporting machines. They type day and night on their old, sluggish, cumbersome laptops or press the tiny keypads of the BlackBerrys frantically in the hope of not passing the deadlines.

Investigative journalism, according to Abdullah Alamudi (Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Center for Press, Center for Media Development, a faculty member of Lembaga Pers Dr. Soetomo), would in turn embody the press freedom, something we must highly value and be guarded together. “Press freedom is what still remains from the 1998 Reformation,” he added. While the rest go astray, freedom of press is one of the very few things that we ought to feel so thankful for. It sets us apart from countries like mainland China, Vietnam, the former Myanmar or even the far more prosperous Singapore. Indonesians may take this press freedom for granted but must we lose it first only to learn how invaluable this could turn? Alamudi praised Press Law imposed since 1999 for being the best collection of rules related to press that Indonesia has ever enforced since Dutch Colonialism Era.

Later, investigative journalism serves as a means of revealing what public has to know about good and bad governance not only in public domain but also private sectors, which are at times also tied to the public side. In Indonesia, perception of corruption is dissimilar from what we may see outside. Here, corruption seems to merely encompasses the public institutions; whereas, the private entities, business people are ‘immune’ to such accusations. However, people may forget that some black-hat private companies and their top officials have robbed the state as badly as what the public officials have done. Alamudin took one private company as an example of this crime type. The (my hunch is a cigarette) company is said to have committed public fraud after launching a misleading advertisement on a national scale saying it managed to plant 1 million trees scattered throughout the country. Bad cases of corporate governance also needs to be told to people.

So if you think that investigative journalism is about reporting from both sides, I can safely say you are wrong. What investigative journalism means is that a journalist must be scouring and digging and sniffing what is unsaid, untold, or even deliberately concealed by those who try to hide facts. And that is such a daunting task. Not all journalists are able to take this responsibility.

Alamudin also mentioned an impact of the enlarging role of stakeholders (capital owners, or whatever the terms are) on press. Ade Armando deeemed this to be a consequence of press industrialization. As press enters territory of industry, the clash between stakeholders and news room becomes inevitable. Political and economic interests of stakeholders begin infiltrating press around the globe. And once it has begun, there is no ‘undo’ button to press. These days, press has to struggle much harder to stay neutral and independent of all these interventions. In short, the idealism in journalism and industry always have and always will collide with each other.

To date, there has not been much of investigative journalism works around in Indonesia. Most of them are not even investigative, but more like reportages on everyday issues like foods poison level, forged daily care products produced and traded by irresponsible groups of insane profit-oriented men. These are then labelled as investigative by producers and TV stations. To the laymen, these all are ‘investigative’ enough, but to analyst Ade Armando, these are hoaxes not even deserving the title. He was worried it would blur the real definition of investigative journalism in the minds of Indonesian viewers.

Another criticism was hurled by Ahmad Kusaeni, Editor in Chief of Antara News Agency. He cynically said,” Indonesian journalists should stop reporting on investigations (conducted by the police) and start investigating and reporting their own results.” That sort of hit the bull’s eye.

Putu Anggreni of Daily Investor had her own proposition on investigative journalism. She insisted that “good news is good news”, as opposed to the more commonplace “bad news is good news” mindset. She endorses investigative, yet more positive journalism for example CSR (corporate social responsibility). This more favorable point of view is dubbed as “PR journalism” by one of Aliansi Jurnalis Indonesia (AJI) members. Flowery words, nice headlines, leaving positive impression that maybe too good to be true to really occur. I have been so familiar with this kind of journalism simply because I am part of it. I get paid to write nicely about my employer. No criticism is accepted. Even news content about business rivals’ achievement are not to be published on our sites. It happened once, when we undeliberately published a piece about an unexpected event at our own project. One of the directors called frantically and asked us to as soon as possible unpublish the news. Just like that, and we did unpublish the very thing.

Then I came into complete realization that investigative journalism is something impossible for me unless I can leave where I work at now. And the focus of the questioning is subsequently shifting to whether I am entirely ready to perform such a job (because being a competent investigative journalist is easier said than done) or not.

I could not agree more when Sarah Lacy of Pando Daily said she got terribly sick with the copy-and-paste or (slightly better) rewriting journalism. She reckoned all the journalists who are sooo obsessed with hits, page views and visitors number as well as speed over accuracy, in-depth analysis, and investigatively enlightening content are insults to their own intellect, and also readers’ .

5 Ketrampilan Digital yang Harus Dimiliki Jurnalis dan Blogger Masa Kini

Di abad informasi digital seperti sekarang, para pewarta harus memutakhirkan kemampuannya dalam bidang media digital. Kini wartawan juga harus melek digital. Mereka harus tahu dasar-dasar ketrampilan dalam berkomunikasi di dunia digital, tren yag tidak terelakkan di masyarakat modern.

 

Ketrampilan 1: Memasukkan tautan (link) dalam berita yang diterbitkan di web

Bagi sebagian orang, hal ini rasanya mudah, tetapi tak sedikit pula yang merasa asing. Pewarta masa kini harus pintar-pintar memasukkan tautan ke halaman web (entah di web itu sendiri atau halaman web lain yang relevan) tempat teks berita mereka dipublikasikan di Internet.

Apa tujuan memberikan tautan semacam ini dalam teks berita? Sebagian pembaca berita di web tidak punya banyak waktu untuk memeriksa sumber yang ada di buku, surat kabar atau media lain. Cara termudah memberikan sumber atau keterangan lain yang memiliki perincian atas satu topik di Internet ialah dengan memasang tautan dalam teks tertentu di artikel berita kita. Misalnya saja dalam sebuah artikel berita tentang Jokowi, kita bisa temukan kata “Solo”. Bagi mereka yang ingin mengetahui lebih banyak mengenai “Solo”, bisa klik kata “Solo” yang sudah dibenami tautan (istilahnya hyperlink) yang nantinya jika di-klik akan mengarahkan pembaca ke halaman situs web, misalnya saja ke situs resmi pemerintah kota Surakarta. Cara ini dipandang lebih mulus dan rapi dalam memberikan sumber atau rujukan daripada dengan menggunakan kata/ frase”klik di sini” kemudian menambahkan URL panjang di belakangnya (biasanya berupa http://www.namasitusweb.com). Ini terlalu panjang dan mengganggu kenikmatan pembaca dalam menyerap isi berita.

Secara manual, kita bisa tambahkan tautan ini dengan cara menggunakan HTML. Tambahkan barisan anchor text (misalnya <a href=http://www.namasutusweb.com>namasitusweb</a>). Ini dipandang berguna sekali dalam menjaring traffic (kunjungan) ke situs Anda melalui SEO (optimasi mesin pencari). Google konon sangat menghargai anchor text semacam ini saat mengevaluasi sebuah situs web.

Ketrampilan 2: Memotret dengan profesional

Saya bisa katakan bahwa sepanjang pengalaman saya sebagai blogger dan wartawan, memiliki kemampuan memotret yang baik sangat berguna untuk meyakinkan pembaca atas apa yang akan kita sampaikan. Isi tulisan akan lebih meyakinkan dan terasa lebih menarik secara visual jika ada gambar yang relevan disajikan di antara teks berita. Mungkin sebagian wartawan atau blogger tidak terlalu menganggap penting ketrampilan ini dan lebih suka mengambil gambar dari situs lain. Namun, masalahnya kadang foto tersebut dilindungi hak cipta. Kita harus membayar royalti untuk menggunakan atau setidaknya jikalau gratis pun, harus memberikan pemberitahuan secara resmi dan tertulis ke pihak pemilik foto jika tidak ingin suatu saat diseret ke meja hijau. Itulah mengapa ketrampilan ini saya anggap begitu krusial. Selain tak was-was karena dianggap menyalin foto orang lain, jurnalis dengan kemampuan memotret mumpuni akan lebih leluasa mengambil foto yang ia anggap paling baik menyampaikan ide inti tulisannya. Tidak tergantung pada pihak lain. Dan syukur jika foto itu suatu saat dibeli orang lain yang berminat.

Kiat fotografi sederhana yang utama ialah memastikan si objek yang hendak difoto itu menghadap ke atau melawan sumber cahaya. Jika kita ingin mengambil wajah si objek atau sisi depan benda tertentu, sumber cahaya yang ada di belakang justru akan memperburuk hasil foto. Ubah angle yang digunakan dengan mencari titik lain untuk mengambil gambar. Jangan dipaksakan. Jika perlu mendekat dengan objek agar lebih jelas dan terang karena lampu blitz kamera akan lebih tampak efeknya saat didekatkan. Kendalanya mungkin ialah bagaimana agar bisa memotret wajah orang penting (misalnya presiden, selebritas) dengan angle sempurna karena tentunya orang-orang ini tidak mau diganggu kegiatannya hanya untuk memuaskan keinginan fotografer. Untuk itu kita harus tak segan mencoba berbagai sudut. Sering satu objek yang sama akan terlihat lebih segar dan lain jika dipotret dari dua angle yang berbeda. Bereksperimenlah!

Lain halnya jika kita ingin memotret tetumbuhan, benda dengan kemampuan berpendar (translucent/ fluorescent). Semua jenis objek ini lebih baik dipotret dengan sumber cahaya ada di belakangnya (menghadap kita).

Ketrampilan 3: Mengoperasikan kamera video

Harus diakui tidak semua orang memiliki akses untuk menggunakan kamera video layaknya jurnalis TV berpengalaman. Sebagai jurnalis atau blogger, kita perlu merekam sebuah interviu dengan sosok penting yang kita temui di sebuah acara atau merekam insiden yang menarik dan bernilai informasi tinggi. Tak perlu memiliki kamera video yang berat itu. Cukup menggunakan kamera saku (yang berkemampuan merekam video tentunya), sebuah flip cam, digital video camera, atau bahkan ponsel pintar berkamera video yang cukup bagus hasilnya. Akan tetapi meski lebih mudah dibawa dan harganya lebih murah, risikonya adalah durasi rekaman yang tidak panjang. Kita bisa atasi dengan mengecilkan kualitas atau banyaknya frame per detik (fps) video hasil, atau dengan menambahkan kartu memori yang lebih besar (jika perangkat itu disertai slot memori eksternal).

Kita juga harus perhatikan cara mengambil video. Ambil video dengan jarak dekat sehingga frame akan tepat dipenuhi dengan badan atas dan wajah orang yang ingin disorot dalam wawancara. Hindari sebisa mungkin fitur zoom dalam perangkat karena hasilnya akan lebih jelek. Sebagai gantinya, jika Anda ingin lebih jelas, mendekatlah ke arah objek. Langkahkan kaki untuk mendekatkan kamera video itu.

Agar video lebih stabil dan enak ditonton, idealnya kita perlu gunakan sebuah tripod atau kaki tiga untuk menopang kamera video. Jika menggunakan ponsel, cobalah menggunakan tangan kanan (jika Anda tidak kidal) untuk memegang ponsel berkamera video ke arah objek dan tangan kiri memegang pergelangan tangan kanan Anda. Kedua siku letakkan saja di perut, menyentuh tulang rusuk terbawah. Dengan demikian, goncangan dan getaran akan lebih minim.

Ketrampilan 4: Menggunakan mikrofon dengan baik

Sebelum menggunakan sebuah pengeras suara di tangan, perlu kita ketahui bagaimana keadaan di sekitar kita. Apakah terlalu bising atau cukup sepi? Jika memang kondisi terlalu ramai hingga suara Anda sendiri tertelan keramaian, carilah tempat lain yang lebih sepi. Jika Anda sedang ingin mewawancarai orang di jalan katakanlah, ajaklah orang tersebut untuk menepi sebentar dan menemukan sudut yang lebih tenang untuk menjawab pertanyaan kita.

Dan jika kita ingin menggunakan mikrofon di sebuah ruangan tertutup, pastikan tidak banyak suara yang terpantul. Ruangan dengan dinding yang tak memiliki peredam bukan tempat yang ideal untuk menggunakan mikrofon.

Untuk peletakan mikrofon, peganglah dengan jarak sekitar 10-15 cm dari mulut kita atau orang yang dipersilakan berbicara. Setelah melontarkan pertanyaan, arahkan mikrofon ke dekat mulut orang yang akan menjawab.

Ketrampilan 5: Mencari informasi di web dengan efektif

Google memang banyak dikenal orang dengan layanan mesin pencari webnya. Namun, di samping layanan itu, Google juga banyak menawarkan fitur dan layanan yang berguna untuk jurnalis dan blogger seperti kita. Di antaranya ialah Google Reader dan Google Advanced Search. Google Reader adalah sebuah agregat RSS feed berita dari berbagai situs dan blog yang kita anggap penting untuk baca update terbarunya tanpa harus satu per satu membuka semuanya di jendela peramban (browser).

Sementara itu, Google Advanced Search adalah fitur
mesin pencari yang lebih spesifik. Di sini, kita bisa menemukan hasil pencarian yang tidak mengandung kata-kata khusus, atau menemukan halaman situs web yang setidaknya mengandung 1 kata/ kelompok kata (frase) yang diinginkan, tanpa harus menyertakan semua kata dalam frase yang sedang dicari. Hasilnya? Kita akan menemukan hasil yang jauh lebih spesifik daripada hanya sekadar mesin pencari biasa di halaman muka Google.

Tentu saja 5 ketrampilan di atas hanya sebagian ketrampilan yang diperlukan jurnalis dan blogger. Apa saja ketrampilan lain yang menurut Anda juga harus dimasukkan di daftar ini? Silakan tambahkan di kotak komentar!