editor on the verge

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

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Don’t let your lack of time hurt your readers

March 4th, 2008 · 4 Comments

A common refrain I heard in response to my post about enhancing stories was essentially, at many newspapers, there is not enough time and too few people to be doing that AND accomplish everything else they have to. Although I don’t necessarily agree with that analysis, I’m going to save my thoughts on time management for another day and instead offer a potential solution.

I think you need to first decide whether or not you believe that enhancing your stories has value. Do you think it is important to present something more then just what you offer in your daily paper? If the answer to either question is no, then you can stop reading here and I wish you a pleasant day. If your answer is yes, then read on.

One suggestion is to essentially allow all your content to have outbound links attached to them. Not sure what I’m talking about? Try visiting the New York Times’s website and open a story. Double-click on any word and “a new window will open with a dictionary definition or encyclopedia entry.” This has nothing to do with the minions who work at the Times or the large stacks of cash that the newspaper spends on technology, rather, it’s via a third-party vendor. The Times, like CBS News, partners with Answers.com.

Answers.com was founded in 1999 by Bob Rosenschein. So what is it? Well,

Answers.com is an advertising-supported, free website. Since its launch in January 2005, it has become one of the leading information portals on the Internet. Answers.com’s collection of over four million answers is drawn from over 180 titles from brand-name publishers, original content created by Answers.com’s own editorial team, community-contributed articles from Wikipedia, and user-generated questions & answers from Answers.com’s industry-leading WikiAnswers. The site offers useful answers in categories like business, health, travel, technology, science, entertainment, arts, history and many more.

The Times, CBS News, blogs (like editor on the verge) and other sites are using Answers.com’s AnswerTips “small information bubbles that define any word when double-clicked without opening a new browser or following outbound links. AnswerTips deliver instant definitions, explanations and facts including biographies, tech terms, geography, pop culture and much more.”

Using this service on your site would allow you to offer outbound links without having to have a designated staffer research and complete them. I’m not necessarily endorsing Answers.com, if there’s another comparative service or another way to approach this issue, I’m all ears. I just believe your losing out if you simple do nothing.

Tags: Audience Development · Design · Editor on the verge · Editor on the Verge · Innovation · Metrics · Online · technology · Tools · Traffic

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Pat Thornton // Mar 4, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Great suggestion. We need to spend more time finding solutions to problems and less time finding excuses for why we can’t change.

    For just about any problem there is a solution. But if we never agree to tackle that problem, we’ll never find the solution.

  • 2 matt king // Mar 5, 2008 at 12:09 am

    Give me the ability to hyperlink my stories and I’ll gladly spend the extra 5-15 minutes to do it. I’d love to do it.

    Another way to “add value” would be to build an exhaustive and constantly updated newspaper wiki. Mention the mayor? Link to his wiki entry. A story about the failed nuclear power plant siren? Link to past stories and the wiki entry on the plant.

    etc., etc. etc.

  • 3 Rid yourself of the blogger’s dilemma. | no.stupid.answers // Mar 9, 2008 at 7:04 am

    [...] Yoni Greenbaum, blogger of editor on the verge, writes: Don’t let your lack of time hurt your readers! He’s added the AnswerTips feature to his site – like the NYTimes and CBS News before him – [...]

  • 4 In the name of efficiency, think first | editor on the verge // Apr 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    [...] ← Don’t let your lack of time hurt your readers Bad online practices from the New York Times [...]

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