The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at The University of Texas at Austin has published an e-book, "How to Write for the Web" (Como Escribir para la Web") by Colombian journalist Guillermo Franco.
The e-book, which can be downloaded in PDF format for free from the Knight Center's Web site, is written in Spanish for journalists throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and serves as a comprehensive manual to writing for online publications. The 218-page book includes practical examples of writing for the Web, secondary research and contributions from other Latin American and Caribbean journalists writing for the Web. The Knight Center plans to publish the book in Portuguese and English in 2009.
"'How to Write for the Web' will help train writers in the field of online journalism, which is growing at a rapid pace in Latin America," said Rosental C. Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center. "Free downloadable books have a great potential to spread knowledge around the world in a cost effective manner."
"How to Write for the Web" will be incorporated into the Knight Center's workshops and distance learning classes, which are offered to journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean as part of the Knight Center's mission of helping journalists to elevate journalism standards and defending press freedom in those regions.
This is the second skills guide for journalists the Knight Center has made available online. The first, "Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive, A digital literacy guide for the information age," written by U.S. journalist Mark Briggs, was made available as a free download in December 2007, and has been downloaded more than 20,000 times. Briggs' book was originally launched in English by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism and re-launched in Portuguese and Spanish by the Knight Center. The three versions of "Journalism 2.0" can be downloaded in PDF format for free from the Knight Center's Web site.
Both e-manuals are the beginning of the Virtual Library, a new section of the Knight Center's trilingual Web site. In the next months the Knight Center plans to publish additional e-books and offer more instructional resources for journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean who are interested in Digital Journalism or in using the digital technology to improve the quality of the journalism they practice.
Franco, a former student of Alves, is the former editor of ElTiempo.com, the Web site of the most prominent newspaper in Colombia. He has worked as a journalist for 23 years, the last eight of which have focused on digital journalism and the Internet, and has taught Knight Center workshops and presented research at the International Symposium on Online Journalism, an annual conference hosted by the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin and organized by Alves.
In 2007, the Knight Center received a new five-year grant from the Knight Foundation to refocus its work as a digital media training center for Latin American and Caribbean journalism, and to expand its efforts to serve as an incubator for new journalism organizations.