Your typical Italian tech webzine is a very traditional product: articles are just text with a few images, with a complete lack of interactivity. No data journalism or coding journalism, no ability for readers to provide additional content or editing, no OSINT, even comments are sometimes not allowed. Let alone more exotic stuff like web 3.0 or augmented reality. Why?
Because the greatest part of those webzines, even the most reputable ones, are still based on a very conservative business model: authors are not paid as they are nor professional journalists neither, most of the times, freelancers, but just experts in their own fields. On the bright side, this implies no need for a paywall since costs plummet; yet there is no interest in enhancing the manner in which content is presented. For experts who make a living of their jobs, indeed, publishing an article is just as good a way as any other to gain visibility and social status. As to the editor or the owner, for them the webzine itself is a often a stage for petty political debates or criticisms, not without a good dose of vested interests.
With the need for a constant supply of free content, quality is also an issue. A lack of an editorial board (let alone of a peer review mechanism) most of the times results in huge variability in quality, which in the long run will end up with the best authors lowering their own quality or fleeing the project.
The bottom line is that there is still room for a game changer. What I suggest:
- quality is paramount
- a sustainable business model but not at the expense of editorial and authoring skills
- embracing the digital age: it makes little sense to publish on the web (a part from the costs) if the contents are just texts. Expecially so, if we are talking tech webzines
- think glocal: articles in Italian and in English for a broad audience both in Italy and abroad.