editor on the verge

Online musings from the newsroom and beyond . . . by Yoni Greenbaum

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Do you publish in 3-D?

November 16th, 2007 · No Comments

I find one-dimensional articles disappointing; they cause newspapers to miss out on important opportunities to engage readers, to educate them and to keep them coming back for more. One-dimensional articles reek of laziness and, I would argue, can be the sign of an insecure newsroom.

NYTimes related link boxOne-dimensional articles do not provide related links, do not include access to referenced documents and do nothing to show readers how the reporting was completed and the piece written.

I consider this lazy because with most Content Management Systems, adding related links – whether to relevant websites or previous articles – is simple. In these cases it’s typically no more then a few clicks and some cutting and pasting. For those news websites that are still not using a CMS, let me offer you my sympathies, but let me also remind you that an HTML link is not difficult coding. Whether you are using a wizard or are hard coding, adding these links does not add significantly more time to the posting process. And, I would argue, the benefits far outweigh any costs.

If it is so easy to provide these pieces of information, why don’t all newspapers do it? My guess is, as I said up above, that these newspapers are insecure. They are worried that by providing readers with all this information readers may find something that the reporter missed or that is factually incorrect. These newspapers believe that readers are better off if they are provided with only limited information; that too much information might overwhelm them. These newspapers couldn’t be more wrong.

Newspapers that present their content in this multidimensional manner will find visitors to their website will spend more time on the site and will return more frequently. In my mind this is the type of scenario that we at newspaper websites would want, no?

So does your newspaper offer one-dimensional or multi-dimensional articles?

Tags: Audience Development · Best Practices · Online

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