All the rage: seeking and appeasing

January 31, 2010

In Chapter 3 of “Online Journalism” by Richard Craig, reintroduces the idea of making a Web site that is customized towards a specific audience who will toward that particular source.

WSJ.com, according to Craig, is an online source that people flock to for another reason–their strong interactive space. They offer feedback pages, message board, chat rooms, online polls and lots of other features.

As I take a look at the site, there are lots of things that are interesting me. There are many forums to get information. There are so many tabs to click on, I feel a little overwhelmed with the concentration of information in so many sections.



-There are a plethora of blogs devoted to different area of news and life
-Options to view today’s paper, section by section
-A wide video section
-In depth guides

This, Craig states, is WSJ getting to know their audience and what they like/dislike. With a heap of interactive forums thrown at me, I feel I will be more likely to click on something and response as opposed to a site with just links to articles. A comment section is always beyond helpful for writers/reporters looking for feedback. Polls are also very popular on news sites and very easy for people to utilize because it takes no time at all.

The author suggests areas to look for your audience likes and dislikes are:
-internet newsgroups
-discussion groups
-blogs
-search engines
-special-interest home pages
-e-mail lists
-other news sites

Working at the student newspaper at the University at Buffalo as an editor, the areas where I would look up upcoming events, people, or news items of interest were online mediums where students congregated such as Facebook; popular local publications such as The Buffalo News and ArtVoice; on-campus publications such as Generation and Visions by students and The Reporter by hired UB staff. Fellow editos looking to write slugs for staff writers would also look online at news stories popping up about Buffalo. Other news sites were primary spots to look for ideas for articles.

Craig also suggests methods to “breathe some life into otherwise mundane topics” are to incorporate:
1. Find a local or subject specific angle
2. Follow up on a published story
3. Advance stories.. we called these previews at The Spectrum
4. Big feature stories that goes in depth into a story you’re covering

As we discussed in class, multimedia makes things interesting. If a reporter goes above and beyond to bring his audience audio, video, and interactive sections to enable a full understanding then I feel the story will be good.

Personally, I believe the best stories I ever come upon are those where the writer contemplates something new… perhaps a new angle of a story, or uncovers something surprising. This week, I stumbled upon a couple features that I thought were interesting.

1. “A Homeless City in the Woods” from nymag.com

What makes this interesting?
-eye-catching title, excellent lead
-exposes a sort of secret neighborhood within a nearby populous
-the staff writer seemed to get an in with these people

2. OBAMA’S GHOST: JON FAVREAU from bostonmagazine.com

What made this one particularly intriguing?
-very cool look behind the scenes
-played upon the fact that Obama’s ghostwriter is young and has an effect on so many people
-very relevant–the feature was published the day after the State of the Union speech

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