The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at Texas University at Austin has just published How to Write for the Web, a PDF-format book downloadable from their website without cost.
The document, written by Colombian journalist Guillermo Franco, presents — in Spanish — all the pieces of research done on the topic as well as his own contributions and bibliography on the web writing process and takes those to the practical realm by including all sorts of examples.
“This document pretends to be part of the answer to the journalist training needs in Latin America by following the same path and philosophy of other efforts supported by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas”, said Rosental C. Alves, founder and principal of this institution and who directed the project.
Franco, on the other hand, says this is more than just a manual; the document seeks to become the starting point for discussion and for the making of online writing manuals, by including contributions from all journalists in the region. In fact, a discussion group of ‘How to write for the web’ has been created in Facebook by several colleagues that participated in the project.
“In the search for information about the subject in the web, several books, and from the interviews we made, we encountered all kinds of viewpoints but we privileged those backed up by research. While revising the document as a whole, two names gained on importance (by the number of times they are quoted): the Poynter Institute and Jakob Nielsen. This work pays tribute to the two of them but especially to the latter, an indispensable reference in terms of Internet usability topics, who generously shares his knowledge in his website. This is an invitation — even for its detractors — to give it a shot before trying to controvert it,” states Franco in the introduction to his work.
Franco is a journalist with 23 years of experience, the last eight of which have been dedicated to digital journalism and the Internet. He developed all of his career at Casa Editorial El Tiempo (CEET), owner of El Tiempo daily paper and eltiempo.com; the latter is the website with the most audience traffic in Colombia. From year 2000 through to 2008, Franco worked as New Media Content Manager at CEET and as the managing editor of eltiempo.com, and was responsible for the content strategy of all the websites that belong to the organization.
The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at Textas University at Austin was created in 2002 thanks to a 2-million-dollar donation by James L. y John S. Knight Foundation, which has allowed for reaching thousands of journalists through self-sustainable training programs that pretend to increase both ethical and professional levels, as well as to contribute to press freedom and democracy in the hemisphere. In 2007, the Knight Foundation made yet another donation of 1.6 million dollars so that the center would rethink its activities to focus more on journalist training in the use of digital tools.