The Internet is taking over the news industry, said The Oklahoman’s Energy Editor Adam Wilmoth, to an OCCC News Writing class June 30.
“People want their news,” Wilmoth said. “They want their news immediately. They want the news that they’re interested in. You don’t have as [many] people getting up in the morning, flipping through the newspaper and reading it cover to cover.”
OCCC journalism professor Sue Hinton knows the importance of learning online writing skills.
Wilmoth will teach a Writing for the Web class at OCCC in the fall. He said he is excited and thinks it will be a good class.
“Writing for the web is for everything,” Wilmoth said. “If you’re going to be a professional communicator, if you’re going to be in this business, if you’re going to reach people, you’re going to be doing it through the web.”
He said web publishing has advantages over print.
“The immediacy, getting the headline out there, is a big benefit of writing for the web.”
In print newspapers, Wilmoth said, it’s difficult to see who is interested in what type of stories.
“Online, we know exactly how many people click on [a story],” he said. “We know how long they stay on it. We know if they click on it and the lead is boring … and they don’t bother to read the whole story.”
Students listened intently as Wilmoth spoke about his job as energy editor with the business section of The Oklahoman. He covers the oil and gas industry that plays a dominant role in the state’s economy.
“I wasn’t really looking for that, but it was open, and I got in and I loved it,” he said. “Everything that I write about directly affects me, my family, people around me — and I just really enjoy that.”
The main difference in writing for the web and writing for the printed newspaper is that every tool is different, Wilmoth said. An online journalist can reach a broader audience by using Facebook, Twitter and other digital tools, he said.
“If we use those tools properly, it can help us be better communicators.”
Wilmoth also spoke on the importance of accuracy as a journalist.
“While the Internet is giving us more flexibility, it’s also (giving us) a lot of misinformation,” he said.
“Anybody can have a blog. Anybody can post on Facebook. We are professional communicators. We are professional journalists. We have to hold ourselves to a different (and higher) standard.”
Hinton later said Writing for the Web may be added to the curriculum for journalism and broadcasting students.
“Everybody who is writing is going to be writing for the web,” she said. “That’s true not only for journalists and broadcasters, but also it’s true for advertisers, for people who work in online publications of any kind, even business and issue-oriented websites.
“We feel particularly lucky to have someone with Adam Wilmoth’s credentials who’s available to teach the class.”
Writing for the Web will be offered as a journalism class on Monday nights during the fall semester. It is listed under JB 1003. For more information, contact Hinton at 405-682-1611 ext. 7331, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.