Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to a group of sophomores at Putnam City West High School about what I do as a journalist. Specifically, I am an online editor, and one of my greatest interests is trying to find new ways to present information in a way that is appealing for you, the viewer.
In an online session with newspaper redesign guru Mario Garcia, we in the newsroom learned that some people actually read online stories in their entirety. Then there are some of us who have a short attention span and tend toward infosnacking – a term that means jumping online from place to place and “snacking” on what you desire – whether it be videos, stories or podcasts. I like to read about two paragraphs of a story online, and move on to an interesting photo gallery or video that pertains to the story.
While talking to the teenagers yesterday, I asked them what their ideal news web site would be.
“I want the anchor to pop up and tell me all the stories,” one student said.
Going off of that idea, one student added, “I want the anchor to answer my questions and interact with me.”
These seem like lofty ideas, right? The thought that an online reporter could actually answer questions about a story seems a little incredulous.
As their teacher offered, these teens want the news handed to them on a platter. But why shouldn’t it be? We should make news intake as simple as possible for you. It is your job to decide what you think about the news presented, not to dig to understand what the news is.
So how do you want to see your news online? Through a talking head? Through a simple story? Through an elaborate slideshow presentation? Share your thoughts.