All of us are reading news on the internet, or in print, but mostly on the internet. We many times wondered how are these online news portals are working. What is behind the website? As we promised in our introduction we made an interview with one of the journalists of Velvet, Zoltán Molnár. Velvet is a subsection of Index, which is one of Hungary’s top online news portal. Read the article, to know a little bit more of online journalism.
How do you start a day? What time? Is there any meeting you start with?
Zoltán Molnár: The person in the morning duty opens the page, but the real searching starts at 9 o’clock. We are looking for news and 30-45 minutes after that we sit down for a meeting to discuss, plan and split up the daily and weekly topics within ourselves.
How are the schedules since you inform the people almost 0-24? Does that apply on Velvet on Dívány too?
Zoltán Molnár: There is no 0-24 news feed in the Hungarian newspapers, nor in their online site of them (If I am correct), perhaps only MTI is continuous. (MTI is the main resource of media, it provides news in a short written way). Velvet is covering the incidences of the world from 7 until 22. Dívány is a magazine so there is no set rules or schedule of from when until when we have to be on the lookout, it is a different genre.
Based on what do you decide the value of an information/news? What makes a story outstanding? What is cover material?
Zoltán Molnár: Mostly the same applies to this, what they teach in the university. So topicality, known and famous people, the size of the given news (extraordinary, big, long cases, at the blue news many dead or injured), exclusivity, organized media events.
How do you rate the news? For example which one is the first and why?
Zoltán Molnár: The first is always the one that has exclusivity, even if it lasts only hours. The stories which are ours, so we are the first one to publish them. The breaking news are also very important, sudden stories/cases/occurrences which are affecting lot of people (catastrophes, big media events).
After how long a piece of news “dies”, or gets lower in importance?
Zoltán Molnár: This depends on many factors, such as how popular it is between the readers, the “age” of the news and general importance.
How often do you check how many clicks the news get? Does that influence the build-up of the site?
Zoltán Molnár: Logically we always have to watch the clicks. Those numbers also help the advertisers to decide where to buy spots. Based on those numbers, they see how many people read the site and how many people they can reach through it. It depends on the sites if they focus on getting more and more clicks or not, but naturally it can be a bad influence on the quality of the site if they don’t care about it.
Was there any case, that the inside life, background work of the magazine made it to news, thanks to Velvet? (For example the Rékasi case, when this celebrity took one of your colleague’s camera?)
Zoltán Molnár: Well, for example the Rékasi case :). If we talk about the inside life of the editorial office, those things don’t often get out. But on Facebook we share some information about what happens in the office. For example, when a hamster died, we got balloons from TV2 channel, and got muffins from a porn star.
What is your most memorable, lasting journalistic experience and why?
Zoltán Molnár: Of course, I am biased here. For example when they beat up those police man at Izsák. I had to explore the whole boondocks of Kiskunság because of the case. It was worth it, I have made a report out of it, which became THE example at Index for a while. Usually the best writings and experiences are always the ones which take a lot of work and effort but after that, many people read them and they have a positive feedback.
What interests the most people in Hungary if it comes to tabloid journalism?
Zoltán Molnár: Unfortunately: sex, pussy, boobs, blood and brutality. Let’s say in this there is no difference between the Brazilian, English or Bulgarian consumers.
How helpful and nice are the celebrities when it comes to Velvet?
Zoltán Molnár: It depends on the person. The ones who know that have made controversial statements and are involved in questionable cases, therefore there is a lot to write about them, well they don’t really love us. Who acts normally, will be very contributing, because she or he knows we will write positively about them. Good example is Zsófi Szabó, who told us, that until she was doing stupid stuff, we wrote bad things about her, but after she stopped, and started to act normally we wrote good things. What a surprise!
Who do you think is your competition and why?
Zoltán Molnár: Based on the numbers, our competition is Life.hu, Blikk, Bors online, but often when it comes to criminal cases the serious sites, such as Origo.hu or Hvg.hu.
Is it true, that today next to the simple journalistic experience you need multimedia journalistic experience?
Zoltán Molnár: Yes, and I can feel the disadvantages of that. I am an old fashioned, laughed at figure. My first smart phone is only due in December, and often I feel like this is the minimum to have one in this field. If you don’t stay technically up to date, you get left behind. Good example is another genre, the reporters who write about wars. Before a whole cast would go to the given place, nowadays often a journalist goes alone, and in one person he or she can make pictures, videos, share the information and write. The one person staff is the future and it is also more cost-effective.
Thank you very much to Zoltán Molnár for his contribution.