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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