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By Eija Rissanen

“On top of good writing skills, online journalism requires also technical skills,” said Arvman, “such as being familiar with Web design software. Companies are looking for skilled journalists in both fields.”
The Honolulu Advertiser does not have personnel to write stories only for the Web site, Arvman explained. All the local stories, national or international stories with local ties, and stories with environmental angles that appear on the Web site, are from the print edition of the newspaper.
“ We focus on the market we know,” Arvman said. He added that these are the stories local people are interested in. “They can get their national and international news from lots of sites; they can only get local news from us.”

The credibility of online reporting was among the concerns raised by the students. Arvman said that in print journalism, facts get checked until deadline, and mistakes get corrected in subsequent issues. In online journalism, stories get updated many times during the day as new facts come to light and as mistakes are discovered. Web readers, he added, are willing to accept sliding credibility as the cost of current information.

“ You do the best you can. You try to give the most accurate information you have,” Arvman said.
Arvman’s career exemplified what he told students about the best way to prepare for a journalism career: get experience, he said, and apply for internships.

Arvman started as a reporter for Kalamalama, the HPU student newspaper. He worked his way up to editor, in his senior year, and helped the paper develop its own Web edition. He was hired as an intern by the Honolulu Advertiser.

Arvman had been thinking about getting a master’s degree, but he jumped at the chance when, at the end of his internship, the Advertiser hired him. “Don’t bother with a master’s degree,” Arvman said. “You need to get out there and get some experience.”

“ Apparently the folks at the Advertiser were so impressed with Andreas,” said Dr. Larry LeDoux, Kalamalama faculty editor and chair of the journalism program at HPU, “that they created a job for him.” LeDoux explained that the timing was right, too, as the Advertiser was just starting to think about developing its own online edition.

LeDoux agreed with Arvman on the importance of experience. “Journalists should get a master’s degree if they want to teach,” he said.

Over the past years, print readership has declined, Arvman said, whearas online readership has increased. In the future, he added, online journalism will be a serious career choice for journalism students.

After about half an hour answering questions, the evening closed with the Press Club hosting everyone to pizza and soft drinks.


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