Monthly Archives: October 2009

The Learning Curve

Okay newspapers, pay attention. Simply making the online content to a newspaper more visually appealing—which includes parsing it down for everyone with a short attention span—would keep readers interested.

It seems so simple and obvious, even the porn industry has caught on, but apparently traditional media doesn’t quite get it yet.

Even though newspapers are trying to stay current by using sites like Twitter, they keep reverting back to the shovelware tactic. The articles can be written brilliantly, but that doesn’t matter if nobody reads them.

The overarching idea behind keeping articles brief is that any successful medium must cater to its audience. Traditional media is facing the challenge of maintaining much of their normal practices to retain readers, and also adapting to new media methods to grow with readers as their world changes.

I think that the single most important thing that traditional media must do to achieve this goal is to listen to the audience. Taking feedback and using it when necessary means there is a direct channel for traditional media to learn exactly what they need to do to be successful. Modern audiences are used to being able to get everything tailored to their needs and interests, and that desire for personalization isn’t going to change any time soon.

However, a part of acknowledging the audience is realizing the differences among the people. Although the traditional media can learn some valuable lessons from new media and the Web, it shouldn’t abandon everything that has been established for what is new. The part of the audience that appreciates or relies on traditional media should not be forgotten. The digital divide and neo-luddites are part of the audience that is keeping newspapers going in this time of change.


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I Want Real News

Any journalist can tell you that there are certain requirements for something to be considered newsworthy. Not just any water cooler gossip is worthy of being put into print. Is it?

Unfortunately, with the ability to broadcast your life to the world via the Web, an office scandal can turn into a national debate.

Case in point, a recent tweet by columnist and CEO of, Penelope Trunk, said that she was relieved she had a miscarriage at work. Major news networks like CNN have covered this flippant remark.

Although the cavalier attitude toward a miscarriage is unappealing to most, it shouldn’t be a total surprise. Not every pregnancy is wanted.

So why is this news?

She wasn’t a household name before this incident; the issue of abortion is somewhat current, but not pressing; and it has little to no impact on anyone other than Trunk and her family.

I don’t even think that this is a novelty.

People love to talk about themselves, and seeing every detail of someone’s life posted on the Web isn’t new.

It seems that with the Internet apparently taking over traditional news, the traditional news tries to fight back by covering the happenings of the Web.

But the give and take isn’t quite equal. While the Web has everything traditional media does and more, traditional media cannot take everything from the Web and use it successfully.

This is why the news values shouldn’t be forgotten or abandoned in this time of change. “Internet sensation” isn’t on the list for a reason.

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