Jun 12, 2010

Newspaper 2.0

10 suggestions for newspapers to adapt to the digital world from Doc Searls' post "A newspaper progress report, sort of" can essentially be summarized as "link, link, link". The suggestions may be good, but they don't seem to be justified:
  1. Open up archives, don't charge for access to archived news. This one makes sense, unless the newspapers come up with a lot of added value in archive browsing (e.g., tools for mapping, tracing, or otherwise researching events and issues).
  2. Link to archived news on the paper's website. The suggestion should be "link to archived news only if you understand the purpose of such linking". Multiple links to archived news add to information overload, clutter the text, and make the reading more difficult.
  3. Link to relevant content on the web. Why and what for? The newspapers want their readers to read their content, not the web. If they link outside, readers will go away from their pages and advertisers.
  4. Link to local bloggers and competing papers. Again to encourage readers to go away? While I can see this being of benefit to the reader, I can't understand why newspapers would want to do it.
  5. Hire good bloggers. Hiring based on one's work rather than degrees, etc makes sense.
  6. Engage citizen journalists. OK, using others without paying them also makes sense.
  7. Treat your writing with respect and don't use the word "content". This is a personal preference. There is no argument why the word "content" is more offensive than "news", "text", or anything else except its coming from a non-journalistic environment and blurring the boundaries between journalists and other producers of digital information.
  8. Simplify your website. Good one, but needs to be more specific. And it contradicts #2,3,4.
  9. Make your web dynamic, in other words twitter and facebook. This is a hype, everybody now calls for using twitter and facebook. Does it mean to reach certain populations or disseminate news in various (shorter, etc.) formats? This suggestion needs "unpacking" as some humanities professors like to say.
  10. Make news friendly to mobile devices. See #8.