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New Media -> Bosnia and Herzegovina
WEB DESIGN OF MEDIA IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
27.05.2002: Marija Putica

Right after the war, in 1995, Bosnia-Herzegovina was connected to the Internet network via the university line UTIC. Next year, in 1996, the postal service of Bosnia-Herzegovina started providing Internet services. Already then a large number of conventional media outlets in Bosnia-Herzegovina had Internet editions, and Internet sites of their media were created for groups of people who had emigrated abroad from the country. Professionally and technologically speaking, these web sites were up to acceptable standards regarding use of information technology in Internet journalism. Rapid development of New Media in our region resulted from dramatic wartime and political circumstances since the Internet connected people in the fastest, easiest and most efficient way, informing them about events on which their destinies depended. People with political dominance over the media were naturally inclined towards this because dissemination of information helped the development and strengthening of their policies among the Bosnian-Herzegovinian people even in the most remote parts of the world.

 

With regard to this, we must remember the above-mentioned fact that at this early stage a large number of Bosnian-Herzegovinian media outlets were present on the Internet, although Bosnia-Herzegovina was known as the country with the smallest number of public media domains in the world. There were four in total until the year 2000 because the local network infrastructure could not satisfy the needs of users, due to which services of Internet providers across Europe and the United States were used, mostly in Florida and California. Meanwhile, although there are no exact scientific studies on this issue, one can say that Bosnia-Herzegovina was one of the leading countries in the world by the number of media outlets on the Internet per capita. This paradox brings to mind another earlier, also very important paradox of significance to the study of journalism in the world.

 

The appearance of mobile personal computers with autonomous energy supply and compatible with desktop computers enabled journalists to take their computers out into the field and send digitalized items from there which were already laid out for the needs of computerized newsrooms. This innovation was mostly used by sports reporters who are tied to the field due to the nature of their work and who had to send reports to their newsrooms at maximum speed. The first such major attraction occurred during the 1984 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo when American and Japanese journalists used laptops to write articles and then, via a modem, directly connected them to the telephone network, while at the same time ready articles entered their newsrooms’ computer memories on the other side of the ocean.

 

This breakthrough enabled the development of telematics, mutual adaptation of technology and tt connections. Computers could ‘talk’ to each other via telephone lines. This was accompanied by a paradox because the problem were not intercontinental connections which were based on the application of new technologies enabling enormous increase in capacities. The main problem were local connections where development of technology and investment limitations did not allow the capacities to grow together with the needs. Connections in countries which are underdeveloped communication-wise are still limiting the development of computer communications and this is also happening in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These limitations especially hurt radio and television stations which are striving to provide quality design of their Internet sites.

 

RADIO AND TELEVISION STATIONS ON THE INTERNET

 

Internet Television

The New Media offer a high level of convergence of information and communication technology. Their content is convergent and can be readapted to a different infrastructure. Of particular significance with regard to this is the linking of television and personal computers because these media units are very similar. Digital television is taking over a certain scope of functions of personal computers since Internet service is built into the digital television system. It is interactive digital television, not personal computers and the Internet, that is conquering the space of the New Medium. It provides content receivers with new services prepared for the television medium. The majority of information users find this to be a more acceptable form of receiving contents and services than to be receiving Internet services through web contents developed for personal computers and reshaped for acceptance and interaction through the television medium.

 

With regard to this, the basic characteristics of performance of the New Media need to be pointed out. They are:

-          interactivity

-          delivery on request

-          delivery and acceptance under the information consumer’s control

-          unrestricted time of delivery and use

-          electronic delivery of digitalized content.

 

The above characteristics differentiate the New Media from traditional media such as radio and television and create conditions for media operation where e-television has a dominant role.

 

It is estimated that 97 percent of households in the world watch television program every day. This means that millions of hours of TV program are received every day. E-television is based on this foundation because the adding of functions of personal computers and the Internet expands the space of information and media performance. This creates a New Medium in the form of interactive, digital television which gives information consumers access to different contents on the principle of individual use of information contents. Users themselves can choose what, when and in what way they want to watch. E-television advances from a system of broadcasting contents to a system of interactive selection of desired contents at the chosen time and in the chosen place.

 

However, this advantage creates the problem of recognizing the needs and interests of information consumers to a much larger extent than in the case of classical television. Hence, an Electronic Programming Guide – EPG must be delivered to information consumers via the available information contents to provide the possibility of faster and simpler identification of desired contents from many different sources.

 

Browsing the Television Program for Information

Television and video programs are extremely abundant sources of information. Despite their dynamic nature, unlike text and picture they lack interactivity needed to carry out successful information search and browsing. By organizing their programs into searchable digital libraries available via communication networks, large archives of multimedia information are created and programs are opened which can be used for selective searches over a long period of time.

 

Many systems were created over the past few years which have produced outstanding results in this area, but we will restrict ourselves to one of them, Pictorial Transcripts, because it offers an example of media processing which can be used for automatic generation of multimedia libraries of television programming. The system gives particular attention to mechanisms needed to make efficient searches of multimedia information in thousands of hours of television programming.

 

Text Processing

Textual presentation of information enables non-pictorial information to be shown in compact form, which makes it easier to search through textual data bases. What makes this type of search easy are transcripts made for sound elements in the program by using automatic speech recognition (ASR). Large vocabulary automatic speech recognizers (LVASR) exist for specific domains, such as North American Business News Task, which are able to transcribe speech during active work with 90.5 percent precision. When we apply other tasks for which language and acoustic models exist, we cannot just use them any way we want because the error assessments could be considerably higher. Results received by applying certain techniques in transcribing television programming are therefore encouraging. Such transcripts have shown expected results in searching and browsing through information. High error assessment is limited in their case thanks to the use of certain automated transcripts that users use directly.

 

Audio Decoding

Whilst a combination of pictures received by taking samples and linked with text ensures a more compact presentation of information contained in a video program, audio is added to the delivery of additional information to video (e.g. music, unuttered sound). Audio components are essential when titled text is useless. We have an example of high quality audio supply in the Transform Predictive wideband speech Coder (TPC), which uses a compacted 7 kHz wide audio flow of 16 Kb/s. This ratio can be reliable for picture and textual transmission via a telephone line which is switched on with a 28.8 Kbs or stronger modem. Digitalization and compression of audio signal is carried out in real time during the reception phase. Audio signal is divided into component parts which have a time connection with the other video segments.

 

Automated Production of Hypermedia Documents

In the final stage, information received by media processing is used for hypermedia in a video program in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) form. The HTML production process is guided by pre-determined patterns created to be used for adapting various information. Program segmentation to individual pages is basic for document size. Information on the structure of visual information can be used for program segmentation within a story. In these cases pictures of equal capabilities can be used to locate limited stories, after which more important page segmentation is carried out.

 

Search Engines and Browsers

The search prototype of the Pictorial Transcripts system contains several thousand hours of video program for broadcasting. Efficient use of large multimedia libraries depends on intelligent mechanisms used to carry out selective information searches. This eliminates the need to organize program into several different categories and having to get several information search engines and browsers.

 

The Pictorial Transcripts homepage contains program organization for television networks. There are several different programs in it. Transcript offers HTML presentation of information in a form that contains stylized pictures, text and icons to initiate the running of accompanying audio. Therefore, Pictorial Transcripts Player representation enables real time running of certain pictorial, textual or audio information using a striming player. This pictorial and audio presentation is useful for making quick searches of program material in saved pictorial information, which enables the user to quickly search through the entire program to find the pictures he is interested in. Audio icons can be used to get additional information about the program.

 

If we choose one of the television stations offered on the homepage (CNN for example), we will get a list of different programs for selective broadcasting. If we choose the latest program, we will plug into a live broadcast. If we choose ‘previous programs,’ we will get access to a program archive via an interactive calendar.

 

The system provides several search engines and browsers which enable selective search and browsing through material. Some search engines allow the user to select stored programs with full text search. This interaction enables the user to specify one or a combination of programs included in the search. The search string is specified by the user feeding back information about the relevant video program to be selectively searched.

 

A picture base search can be carried out in the same way. In this case the user selects pictures and compares them to other pictures in the program and then picks the most similar photographs. Pictures are used as links to corresponding points in the program. This possibility can be used for segmenting news programs in a story unit. For example, for certain news programs, the beginning of a new story is always linked to the central view of the person itself, whilst a small window shows pictures related to the story. In other cases pictures of equal capabilities can be used to locate the story margins.

 

Each video program is organized into pages. Each page has navigation links to the previous, next or some other page in the program such as the index page. The index page contains a selection of pages using textual and pictorial indicators. A pictorial index contains a collection of pictures and each represents the content of one page in the transcript. Index pages allow the user to search through parts of program at a certain time. This enables the use of a set of keywords and phrases singled out during the linguistic processing stage in creating Pictorial Transcripts. Selection of one of these words or phrases results in the creation of transcripts of specific keywords. A transcript of specific keywords is created for efficient search through the entire program in order to access relevant information on the selected keyword.

 

 

Television Stations on the Web

RTV BiH www.rtvbih.bih The site has a visually modest design. It offers the following sections: about RTV BiH, news, sports, weather, marketing, contacts, mailing lists. The homepage contains a selection of news of the day in textual form with links to more extensive information. The site’s value are mailing lists: news, sports news, TV program schedule, radio program schedule and weather forecast. Users can register for a mailing list and they will receive regularly on their e-mail addresses the contents that are prepared for the field they register for. It is of particular note that this is the only web site of a public media outlet in Bosnia-Herzegovina which has a separate web newsroom.

 

NTV HAYAT www.ntvhayat.com The site contains the following sections in textual form: overview of shows, program schedule, marketing, news and human interest pieces. Shows that can be watched live on video are separated from the regular program. Of the shows that are offered for watching, only one is informative, two are sports and the rest feature entertainment and music contents. News is archived following a monthly calendar. Searches can be carried out using keywords, but this is very poorly organized.

 

JP RT RS Banja Luka www.rtrs-bl.com The site is visually attractive. It contains textual information on this television company and a selection of current news. It broadcasts an experimental Internet program.

 

TV BN Bijeljina www.rtv.rstel.net The site has modest design. It does not broadcast an Internet program. The site only contains the program schedule and reference to current programs.

 

TUZLA TELEVISION www.tvtuzla.net It does not broadcast its own Internet program, but visitors can follow Radio Kameleon and Radio Slon programs and watch two recorded video clips about Tuzla. It has banners.

 

RTV Grad Sarajevo www.radiograd.delta.com.ba Design of the site is modest. It contains basic information and contacts for marketing services in the regular program. The possibility of listening to its program via the Internet is limited to several chosen shows from the year 1997/98 stored in Real audio format.

 

RTV Zavidovici www.geocities.com/rockbih/radio-zavidovici.htm Design of the site is very poor. It does not have a real player for listening to the program.

 

RTV Vikom Gradiska www.vicom-company.com The Vikom media organization has a very serious approach to its web site design and maintenance. Programming from Vikom studios in Derventa, Gradiska and Banja Luka can be watched live on the Internet. Information is updated regularly in textual form with links to other Web sites that visitors can use.

 

RTV Big Banja Luka www.big.banjaluka.net This Web site provides its users with textual information. It does not broadcast its program on the Internet.

 

RTV BN Bijeljina www.rtvbn.rstel.net It features a textual program schedule and selection of news from the informative program. It does not broadcast its program on the Internet.

 

ALTERNATIVNA TELEVIZIJA BANJA LUKA www.atvbl.com It features bilingual textual content in Serbian and English. The homepage gives an overview of shows from the program. Links lead to more comprehensive information on selected programs. For example, the program Ukrstenica (Crossword Puzzle) provides an overview of political events. The aim is to show how TV stations in the former Yugoslavia view them, but it does not have links to these television stations. It also brings a list and content analysis of the talk show Nezvanicno (Unofficial). News which is broadcast in the regular program is stored in Real Player format and can be heard and watched.

 

 

In the previous years we had an opportunity to see a much larger number of Bosnian-Herzegovinian television stations on the Internet. In the meantime, many of them have lost interest in Internet presentation. Among them are the following:

 

ZETEL Zenica www.zetel.net This private TV station used to have a www site on the address www.bih.net.ba/-zetel. A message has been there for more than a year now saying that the site has moved to a new address. The old site was abandoned and a new one has not been developed.

 

RTV Lukavac www.geocities.com Analysis of the site over the past several years shows major oscillations. At the beginning we had an almost useless site that was poorly visited. A new design was later made which was in perfect harmony with the task to inform and with the existing technical infrastructure. Particularly important in the design of the site was networking with other media that provide media analyses of certain issues. The new design resulted in a lot of visits to the site. As of recently the station has been out of function and under development.

 

Radio Stations on the Web

One hundred and seventy radio stations operate in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They experienced the biggest expansion during the time of Internet expansion in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Over the last year or two their number has been reduced because many of them have not been maintaining their Web editions.

 

Application of new information technologies gives the radio a big opportunity to establish itself as a New Medium by adapting to the New Age. To put it simply, if a radio station finds itself on the Web, it is expected to have, in addition to the expected audio segment, also something that would have been unbelievable until recently – visuality. A journalist’s interview with a well-known singer will be accompanied on air on the Web site by an appropriate video clip, animated sequence or some other principle. This is an indication that a media symbiosis is starting to develop, in which each individual medium will have a new, multimedia component. (The earliest beginnings of media diversity in presentation of information could be seen until a year ago on the Web site of Radio Dobre Vibracije – Denmark, edited and prepared by young emigrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina.)

 

With regard to radio stations’ programming contents on the Web, we find some very interesting information. In the profile of radio stations’ programming orientation, the following sections dominate: culture, sports, entertainment program, cultural contents, commercial contents, economic issues and politics. By analyzing the programming contents of radio stations on the Web, we notice that entertainment program dominates. It is followed by sports, culture and commercial contents. Political contents are featured to a much lesser degree, and economic issues are convincingly last.

 

By searching the Web and analyzing the Web addresses of Bosnian-Herzegovinian radio stations to be found in the country and abroad, we singled out the following radio stations which have their own Web sites.

 

BH Radio 1 Sarajevo www.rtvbih.ba The pages are visually not interesting. They contain the following sections: about the radio, program (program schedule), shows (overview of the most popular shows during the week), frequencies, and live, where it is possible to follow daily news programs in real time. These shows are archived every month and users can listen to them. It does not have any links or the possibility of searching through the archive by topic.

 

EFM Radio (Student Radio) Sarajevo www.radioefm.com Design of its pages is modest. It broadcasts a live program on the Internet.

 

Independent Radio TNT Travnik www.tnt.radio.ba It broadcasts a live program 24 hours a day. Its homepage has links to the following sections: news, marketing, data, links, program. It has a visits counter which shows that the Web site is visited by many people. It contains links to other radio stations and to the radio network BORAM

 

Radio BM (Bosniak/Muslim) Zenica www.bm.radio.ba It features information on the program and individual shows. It broadcasts a live program.

 

Radio Dobre Vibracije Mostar http://businessbih.com.rdv Design of the site is very modest. It only contains basic data on the radio and marketing contacts.

 

Radio Siroki Brijeg www.radiosirokibrijeg.com This Web site only contains e-mail addresses of the employed journalists and radio station management. In an informative sense, this site means nothing to potential users.

 

Radio TNT Travnik www.tnt.radio.ba In addition to basic information on the radio station in textual form, the site also contains the regular program schedule and marketing rates. Current news is also featured textually, but is not updated on weekends. It has links to other media outlets and organizations in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The radio broadcasts a live program on the Internet. When it was searched, the site’s counter registered 72,337 visits.

 

Radio Kakanj www.radio-kakanj.com The whole point of this Internet site is to establish contact for marketing in the regular program.

 

Radio Doboj www.radiodoboj.net This radio program can be heard live on the Internet and that is all the station’s Web site offers.

 

Radio M Sarajevo www.radiom.net It broadcasts a live program on the Internet and it features a selection of current news textually, as well as information on marketing services.

 

Radio Station Mir Medjugorje www.medjugorje.hr It broadcasts a live program on the Internet.

 

Radio Posusje www.radio-posusje.com Design of the site is very modest and it does not broadcast its program on the Internet. The site contains information about the radio station, current news and contacts for marketing in regular program.

 

Radio Stari Grad Sarajevo www.rsg.ba This Web site contains only the basic information on the radio, address and telephone number.

 

Radio Zid Sarajevo www.cyberzid.com This Web site was created for young people and it enables its radio program to be heard live. Organization of its program is divided for all age groups separately.

 

RTV Grad Sarajevo www.radiograd.delta.com.ba Design of the site is modest. It contains basic data and contacts for marketing services in regular program. The possibility of listening to its program on the Internet is limited to several selected shows from 1997/98 stored in Real audio format.

 

RTV Zavidovici www.geocities.com/rockbih/radio-zavidovici.htm The site is very poorly designed. It does not have a real player for listening to its program.

 

NES Radio Banja Luka www.nesbl.tripod.com The site only contains a program schedule.

 

Free Radio Prijedor www.freeradio.rs.ba Design of the site is modest. It broadcasts its program on the Internet.

 

Radio Feniks Prijedor www.radio-feniks.com Design of the site is modest. Its program can be followed on the Internet.

 

RTV Vikom Gradiska www.vicom-company.com The media organization Vikom has a serious approach to the design and maintenance of its Web site. Programming broadcast from Vikom’s studios in Derventa, Gradiska and Banja Luka can be followed live on the Internet. Information is regularly updated in textual format and is linked to other Web sites of use to visitors.

 

Srpski Radio Celinac www.inecco.net/src The site is not completed but it gives the possibility of following its program on the Internet.

 

Radio Doboj http://radio.doboj.net This media outlet has a modest Web site. It contains textual information about this television company. It broadcasts a live program on the Internet.

 

JP RT RS Banja Luka www.rtrs-bl.com The site is visually attractive. It contains textual information on this television company and a selection of current news. It broadcasts an experimental Internet program.

 

Radio Q Visoko www.radioq.co.ba The site is not completed. The offered links are not in function.

 

RTV Big Banja Luka www.big.banjaluka.net The web site provides its users with textual information. It does not broadcast on the Internet.

 

RTV BN Bijeljina www.rtvbn.rstel.net It features a textual program schedule and selection of news from the informative program. It does not broadcast on the Internet.

 

Radio Mostar www.domovina.net/Radio_Mostar The radio station has a Web edition on the Domovina Net server. It broadcasts some programs on the Internet which are archived by date of broadcasting.

 

Radio Bosanska Krupa http://oasis.fortunecity.com/pyramids/257.radio.htm Design of this radio station’s Web site is very poor. It features extensive information about the radio station and marketing with photographs of the newsroom’s premises.

 

BORAM Radio Network www.boram.ba This Web site only contains a table with a list of the radio stations that make up the Boram network.

 

Closed Web Addresses

By making a comparison with analyses of Internet editions of Bosnian-Herzegovinian radio stations carried out over the past years, we can see that a large number of them are missing. During this search we encountered the problem of locating the Web addresses of certain providers. Sometimes a message saying ‘site under development’ or something similar appeared. In those cases we knew what was happening, unlike in most situations when we got the message that the address did not exist or the server was not responding. Then we had to try half an hour later or the next day because they were temporarily cut off the network or too busy. This kind of search established that a large number of radio stations on the Internet have stopped maintaining their Web sites. Among them we will single out the following:

 

Radio Slon Tuzla www.slon.tuzla.net The Web site contains banners of Web design companies. The site is not made in a fashion befitting a radio station. This is a case of an unprofessional experiment, an effort to be original and to offer something different, but the result is a site which is not in function at all. The advertised live audio and video are not functioning, which deceives the site users.

 

Radio Kameleon Tuzla www.kameleon.ba It has been shut off the www until further notice.

 

Bosnian-Herzegovinian Radio Stations Abroad

During the war approximately 2.5 million people fled or were displaced from Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Internet appeared as the fastest link to their homeland. Radio stations broadcasting on the Internet were created for large groups of emigrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina. Other mass media from Bosnia-Herzegovina can also be followed via these sites.

 

Domovina Net www.domovina.net This is the most important site for linking people who emigrated from Bosnia-Herzegovina with their homeland. Design of the Web site makes it possible to listen to several radio stations and to read a number of print media from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 

Radio Most www.radiomost.com This radio station operates in Denmark. The Web site contains only basic information about the radio in textual form. It broadcasts a selection of programs of Bosnian-Herzegovinian radio stations on the Internet once a week.

 

Radio Novi Milenijum http://novimilenijum.8m.com This is a radio station for young people from Bosnia-Herzegovina who emigrated to Denmark.

 

Radio Dobre Vibracije Denmark www.dobrevibracije.dk/default_small.htm The content is divided into latest news and archive. The Web site contains links to Web sites of other mass media, as well as sites with music and other contents of interest to young people. Contributors from Bosnia-Herzegovina prepare audio items about concerts that are held, and there are particularly a lot of interviews with well-known singers. Although the homepage says the content is updated twice a week, by listening to the items we can see that the last item is from September 2001. The fact that 63,094 visits were registered at the moment when this search was carried shows that the Web site was important for young people from Bosnia-Herzegovina living in Denmark.

 

 

Internet RADIO

It was established in Washington back in 1994 that the media had contributed to the expansion of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Agreement placed them under cantonal control. As this was not a good solution, all later agreements also dealt with the issue of media. The 1997 Sintra Declaration gave the High Representative charged with implementing the civilian aspects of the peace agreement in Bosnia-Herzegovina complete powers over the media in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The 1997 donor conference in Bonn requested that new laws be passed on media and telecommunications. In mid-1998 the High Representative passed a decision to create the Independent Media Commission (IMC), which completely took control over the media in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Later, the agency was transformed into the CRA (Communication Regulatory Agency), which issues licenses for the work of electronic media. These commissions have often clashed with media outlets over harsh administrative-judicial procedures, which they claimed were suffocating their work and creating a psychosis of uncertainty. Therefore, just as we are astonished by insistence on the fulfillment of high professional standards for conventional electronic media, we must also express concern by the fact that radio broadcasting on the Internet is absolutely ignored. Media on the Internet do not fall under anyone’s jurisdiction. This is incomprehensible in light of the planetary role of these media.

 

By searching the Internet, we can find the following addresses of Internet radios which broadcast in the languages spoken by the peoples living in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 

ISV Radio Sarajevo www.isv.co.ba It broadcasts a live program on the Internet. This is a Web site for prevention of drug abuse.

 

BosnaNet Radio, First Bosnian Internet Radio www.bosnanetradio.com It broadcasts a live music program on the Internet.

 

Rok Radio www.modrica.com/bihrock It broadcasts music on the Internet 24 hours a day. Internet music radio.

 

BH Sound http://bhsound.8m.com It broadcasts music contents all day long on the Internet. Contact with visitors was intensified when the possibility of voting for songs on a music chart was offered.

 

Radio Mit Modrica www.modrica.com/radio/index2.htm This is an Internet radio. It is not registered. In addition to programs produced by this radio, programs by other radio stations can also be followed on this site.

 

Internet Radio BLICNET www.blic.net The radio’s program schedule is featured in textual form so that users can see when certain shows will be featured. News of the day from the country and abroad is broadcast starting one minute before the full hour. The source of all news items is the news agency SRNA. The station has banners.

 

 

PRINT MEDIA ON THE WEB

 

Daily newspaper circulations in the five most developed countries of the world (United States, Japan, Germany, UK and France) fell by three to 10 percent in the period from 1992 to 1996. Bearing in mind that this is the period when the phenomenon of the New Medium was created and when it experienced mass media affirmation, the reason for the fall in daily press circulations can partly be attributed to the new trend – electronic newspapers. The first such electronic daily, without a paper equivalent, was the Nando Times which has been on the Web since 1996.

 

Use and application of the New Medium in Bosnian-Herzegovinian media can be analyzed from two starting premises:

 

-          Do journalists use the New Medium in an optimum way in terms of gathering information?

-          Do journalists know how to present information in the best way by using the New Medium’s multimedia quality?

 

Based on the results of researching Bosnian-Herzegovinian on-line media, it is evident that Bosnian-Herzegovinian media usually offer nothing more that the headlines published in equivalent paper media. This means that they are not using the potentials of the New Medium.

 

Journalists and their computer literacy are one of the fundamental conditions for use of the New Medium and there is no doubt that journalists will soon experience a major reorganization of the system brought about by a reorganization of technological infrastructure.

 

Reorganization of the way journalists have operated so far will primarily be based on use of the New Medium. Here the journalist first appears as a supervisor, and then as a creator of Web sites on the topics he covers. Therefore, the journalist will be expected to have a much higher degree of know-how, creativity, cooperation and interactivity with readers than he has had so far. A glance at the Web editions of Bosnian-Herzegovinian mass media shows that they are created by webmasters and that separate Web newsrooms do not exist and the responsible individuals are not listed. Hence, we conclude that this phenomenon in Bosnia-Herzegovina has not been understood seriously yet.

 

In the information flow, the journalist is a link in the chain between sources of news and final users. The journalist of the 21st century must keep pace with the New Medium since this is the only way to be able to: access information (input) such as: World Wide Web via search engines (Altavista, Yahoo, Lycos, Magellan…), documentation: (CD ROM encyclopedias, electronic archives…), news in the field he covers (specialized www sites…), referral news from the area he is addressing (from the community in which the medium operates).

 

The above premise also affects the dissemination and presentation of information (output) since this enables: easier journalistic tasks, reduction of repetitive actions, faster and more comprehensive access to sources of information, faster access to clients, creativity in selecting means of expression on the New Medium, and finally, up-to-date information.

 

The generally accepted requirements that must be met in order for a medium to be given the prefix electronic are:

 

-          editorial computerization and Internet connection

-          creating an editorial board for an electronic newspaper

-          adaptation of headlines from paper to a WWW newspaper

-          adding links to related contents, databases, pictures, animations

-          expanding contents with new headlines, as well as readers’ items

-          designing electronic pages for the WWW

-          creating a system of page searches by headline, content, context…

-          marking contents for a database, categorization

-          archiving

-          subscription and set rates.

 

 

Press in Bosnia-Herzegovina on the Web

Bosnian-Herzegovinian newspapers on the Internet do not have even the basic characteristics of electronic newspapers. Generally speaking, they do not have separate editorial boards, they do not have an easily searched archive, they are not connected by current links to related contents, they do not have specified headlines and visuality befitting an electronic edition, etc.

 

Homepages of Web sites with similar political and interest views used to be interactive over the past years. Lately these sites have been redesigned and they lack links to other media, which may have to do with the departure of people managing the media. Interactivity, as the main characteristic of Internet media, is also lacking within the media themselves. Specifically, in organizing archived contents. For, ethics in Internet journalism is based on organization of ‘expanded contents.’ Hence, on learning news from information about the cause, reason, main participants in an event, etc. Bosnian-Herzegovinian media on the Internet lack this dimension although, based on everything else, it is evident that they have the necessary capabilities. Therefore, one may conclude that the political circles that dominate the media in Bosnia-Herzegovina are consciously counting on the population’s short memory and the impossibility of searching through archives by topic.

 

After all, individual analysis of Bosnian-Herzegovinian press on the WWW clearly shows that a large number of media which used to have decent design are consciously neglecting their Internet editions, whilst others have shut them down completely.

 

DNEVNI AVAZ www.avaz.ba This daily used to feature articles from its conventional edition in PDF format. The site is now dominated by a message saying that PDFs will no longer be published. Poorly organized content is reduced to the following sections: current events, features, interview, commentary, black chronicle and sports. Each section consists of a single, unedited article without layout or photographs. Short summaries of the offered articles on the homepage are not interactive with them. Today the site is only a remainder of what it used to be, which points to the conclusion that the owner is trying to boost sales of the paper edition by destroying the Web site.

 

NEZAVISNE NOVINE BANJA LUKA www.nezavisne.com This site has a good quality design. Its content is structured in sections. Latest headlines on the homepage are interactive with integral articles. The Internet edition is much more abundant than the print edition and it is edited by a separate Nezavisne Novine Internet team. It has links to other WWW sites and the fact that the site is profitable is proven by numerous banners and advertisements built into the site.

 

DANI Sarajevo www.bhdani.com Web site of the Sarajevo weekly Dani. The homepage is dominated by headlines of articles from the wartime period in Sarajevo. The headlines are interactive with integral articles. Issues are archived as of 1997. New issues are not posted on the Internet site. The archive is not searchable, the structure is poorly organized and design of the pages is inadequate. It contains a link to the Internet library Interliber.

 

LJILJAN www.nippljiljan.com This Sarajevo weekly does not feature the content of its latest issue on its Web site. Old issues are archived by issue, but the search possibility does not function. Poor design results in low visits. The site registered only 110 visits for the whole year.

 

AZRA www.avaz.ba/azra It only contains several headlines from the issue. There is a message saying that PDFs will no longer be published.

 

EXPRESS www.avaz.ba/Express Several selected headlines are interactive with articles offering further information.

 

SLOBODNA BOSNA www.slobodna-bosna.ba Design of this news organization’s Web site is decent. Current topics from the latest issue on the homepage are interactive with more extensive articles. Issues are archived as of 2001.

 

MAGAZINES

 

MAGAZIN MOBILNI TELEFONI – Internet edition www.mobilnimagazin.com This site is a real example of an Internet magazine. It is not a copy of a paper edition. It is an Internet edition designed following the rules that have been accepted for the New Medium. What is particularly valuable in the design is interaction with users. On-line discussions with users are conducted daily on some 20 or so topics from the field of communications. Users can apply for the mobile magazine’s Web club membership and receive latest news from this field on their e-mail addresses.

 

MAGAZIN ZASTO NE – Web edition www.whynot.com.ba It has a banner. It covers current events in the field of fashion, fitness, cosmetics, massage, plastic surgery. The Internet edition is similar to the conventional edition and articles are archived by topic.

 

SABAH www.sabah-ba.com This is a Bosnian-American paper. Readers are the paper’s contributors. It gathers people from Bosnia living in other countries. Content and basic information about the content cannot be found on the Internet. Readers are invited to apply with their details so that the paper can be delivered to their home addresses. The counter showing the figure of 182,335 visits on the day of our search shows that the site has a lot of visits.

 

 

CLOSED WWW SITES

 

From a fairly large group of print media which have shut down their Internet editions, we will single out certain ones which had exceptionally good design, great significance for users and a lot of visits to their sites.

 

BiH AUTOMOTO REVIJA www.pksa.com.ba/auto This used to be the best designed Web site of all the Bosnian-Herzegovinian media. The site was designed and maintained by the Sarajevo company Unicorn.

 

HRVATSKA RIJEC SARAJEVO www.hrvatska-rijec.com This weekly was characterized by good quality design of its Internet edition. Particularly valuable were numerous links to other media and public and cultural organizations. It was last updated on October 29, 2001.

 

EKSTRA MAGAZIN BIJELJINA www.ekstramagazin.com The high quality Web design of this newspaper was last updated on February 2, 2001.

 

NOVO OGLEDALO PRIJEDOR www.prijedor.ba/novo-ogledalo It also shut down its Web site.

 

WEB NEWSPAPERS

 

The term Web newspapers stands only for electronic editions with specially prepared contents. They do not copy the contents of a print or audiovisual medium. This is part of electronic publishing on the Web with contents providing users with a maximum degree of information and understanding.

 

Web newspapers have become a source of information for the young generation because it uses the Internet more. The structure and content of information influences their opinions, learning and other processes especially because of the synergic affect of multimedia, links to related contents, databases, etc. Therefore, the content of Web newspapers should have recognizable sources of information, publisher and editorial board, as the main preconditions for credible content. Web newspapers, as one of the fastest media without a publishing deadline, could improve the structure of information in the Bosnian-Herzegovinian information space, change the set ways of the local media and consistently apply the rules of the journalist profession.

 

The law does not specify the obligations of electronic media, although it sets down in detail the working conditions of traditional media. This shortcoming creates a gray zone for Web newspapers. If we consider the planetary role of this medium, we should agree that Web newspapers should be the forerunner of the application of the rules of the profession and truthfulness of public word. For this reason they should be separated from the rest of the diverse contents offered in Web space. The following criteria apply for this purpose:

 

-          updating contents at short one-day intervals,

-          publishing political, economic and other news

-          recognizable Web address

-          creating contents on a number of pages and levels.

 

A detailed analysis of Bosnian-Herzegovinian WWW newspapers shows the following:

 

-          they generally use information from conventional media and publish it with a day’s delay, which conflicts with the nature of Web newspapers;

 

-          they have two-way communication with readers as one of the supreme achievements of the New Medium;

 

-          they use the possibility of interactivity, which is the main characteristic of Web space and the New Medium. They have overshadowed traditional media on the Web. More open, public and acceptable media space has been created since the application of state-of-the-art information technology has enabled not only the application, but also the production of media;

 

-          work without a recognizable editorial board, especially editor-in-chief, and unknown publisher places these Web newspapers in the area of yellow press.

 

 

ANALYSIS OF E-ZINES IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

 

COSMOPOLIT Bosnian Internet Magazine www.webq.co.uk/cosmopolit Its content is organized into: columns, news, politics, music, culture, art, sports, interviews with celebrities.

 

INFO Power Information e-zine for collection and presentation of information from various fields www.angelfire.com/mf.infopower

 

INFO BIH E-zine for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Una-Sana Canton www.infobih.com It is updated on a daily basis and contains news from almost all fields: agency news items, sports with reports on sports events, tables and results, film and music charts with Real Audio and Real Video Stream, shareware reviews, interesting news from the Internet world, news from local radio stations in Una-Sana Canton, etc. It has a large number of links which can be very useful to visitors.

 

MAGAZINE BOSNA – BH Internet magazine www.bih.co.ba It covers happenings in the fields of entertainment, music and sports. It has banners.

 

MEDJUGORJE PRESS BULLETIN www.medjugorje.org/mpress.htm Contents are featured in six languages: Croatian, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. It is not updated regularly and design of its textual contents is unacceptable: badly laid out, long and visually unattractive. When we made the search we saw that the counter was registering 531,394 visits. During the previous years the site used to be edited by experts from New York and on April 6, 1999 the site had an exceptionally high number of visits, as many as 15,280,502. In just three years this is a tremendous number of visits even for the most important media in the world.

 

MONITOR MOSTAR www.monitor.ba The site is maintained by the company Infonet. It has a decent design and can serve as an example of how to make a good quality WWW newspaper. Information is updated more than once every 24 hours. It is of note that information appears on this WWW site before it appears in daily newspapers or electronic media. The homepage contains current news linked to more extensive reports. It has a news archive and the search is well organized. Authors of articles and the site founder are not identified, which needlessly places it among ‘yellow’ press. Still, the site has many visitors, 457,389 when this analysis was made. The site is enriched by a photo gallery with pictures of all places in Bosnia-Herzegovina known for their natural attractions. Contact with users is established via chats on current issues. Financial profitability of the site is presumably guaranteed by banners of all of the more important companies in Herzegovina.

 

MEDIA ON-LINE SARAJEVO www.mediaonline.ba Magazine on the media in South East Europe. It features bilingual content, in English and in the languages spoken by the peoples living in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Headlines from the new edition and latest information from the homepage are linked to integral articles. Articles can be chosen in html or pdf format. The magazine’s archive is an example of good organization of information on the Internet. It is archived by issue and topic. Information can be searched by keyword or by name of author. Easy communication is possible with the magazine’s editors.

 

 

NEWS AGENCIES ON THE INTERNET

 

SENSE AGENCY – South East News Service Europe www.sense-agency.com This is a specialized news agency offering daily news on activities of the international community and their impact on the countries of the former Yugoslavia. It contains a phono recording of SENSE agency reports and analysis of the day. Trials taking place at The Hague-based War Crimes Tribunal are broadcast live via Real Video. Polls, forums and chat enable two-way communication with users. Audio and video news is archived and can be searched. The news service is searchable by keyword as well. It is also possible to search the SENSE archive, as well as the entire Web.

 

ONASA – Independent News Agency www.onasa.ba This Sarajevo-based news agency has four news services: all news, general service, business service and NGO and political party info in Bosnian and English. Short news is interactive with general news, which is available to all users. More detailed information on these events is separately organized for subscribers. This kind of organization of content has resulted in a lot of visits to the Web site. From October 1, 1999 to April 17, 2002 the site was visited by 298,777 users.

 

HABENA www.habena.ba The site is very poor in information. Contents are structured into three services: politics, economy and sports. It is evident that this task is not approached seriously. During the search we came upon news items with old dates, which is absurd and inadmissible for a news agency.

 

SRNA BANJA LUKA www.srna.co.yu This news agency produces six services for radio and television stations, daily and weekly newspapers: daily service, news review, service for culture and human interest pieces, selection of news in English, service for sports news and human interest pieces, service for articles on science and arts, special service and photo service. Interaction leads us to a description of services, but news cannot be followed because links to the services do not function.

 

 

CLOSING REMARKS ON WEB MEDIA IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

 

Information technology has strongly shaken the way mass media have been organized up until now. In the post-war years we witnessed a steady growth of Bosnian-Herzegovinian media with WWW sites, but over the past year or two we witnessed their closure. As for media that are still maintaining their Internet sites, unfortunately we cannot see them fully using the potentials offered by the New Medium, although Network permeability has increased several times since the first attempts, which has made even complex projects available along the axle user-medium-hypermultimedia.

 

By using the advantages of the New Medium, creativity of the person who is designing an electronic medium becomes one of the most important success factors of that medium. Rapid growth of e-zines indicates an increasing number of creative amateurs who are trying to publish their own electronic magazines. Web editions of conventional media still do not differ sufficiently from their equivalents.

 

The local journalist community is not accepting the New Medium because it is convinced that investment in the Internet does not pay off. This is seen more as a promotional activity rather than a new form of publishing. Media organizations’ managements are not ready to establish editorial boards for electronic newspapers. Analysis of Bosnian-Herzegovinian media on the WWW has shown that they are not using the Web by putting its advantages to the best use. The main objection regarding this issue could be that not all of the potentials of synergy between hypermediality and multimedia are used on the WWW sites of Bosnian-Herzegovinian online media.

 

This challenges the rationality of using the electronic medium since its role is reduced to copying the original medium. Such WWW sites end up being closed very soon for two reasons: data is not updated, which reduces users’ interest, and financial support is lacking.

 

Marija Putica teaches Information Science at the Journalism Studies of the University of Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and is a permanent contributor to Media Plan Institute. Media Online 2002. All rights reserved.

 
19.11.2014
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
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