Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Giving the Audience Some 'Space' of Their Own

[Keyword: ]. Steve Outing is offering some tips for news organisations to give the audience a space of their own, making the compelling argument: "MySpace and Facebook are among the most successful media-related enterprises on the Web right now [...] Yet with rare exceptions, the newspaper industry is avoiding this personal-page and social-networking trend".

His tips include:
"Give every reporter and columnist their own personal page (a sort of MySpace space for professionals). Items to include:

-- Bio section. Description of the journalist's career and personal interests, including photos.
-- Links to previous work.
-- Any coverage of the journalist; external articles or profiles of him or her.
-- Aggregation of reader comments to the journalist's published work.
-- A Q&A feature (or forum), where readers can directly ask a question of the journalist, and even talk among themselves about the person's work.
-- The journalist's blog. (I think every journalist should have a blog, as a venue to interact with his or her readers, let them know what he/she is working on, and as an outlet for interesting stuff collected by the journalist that otherwise doesn't have a home in the newspaper or on the website.)
"

"invite online readers in. I mean giving them space, inviting them to become part of the news conversation, and facilitating communication between readers who share interests in the news or specific slices of it.
"
Here's my prescription for creating within a news site a place for readers/users to call their own -- and start to feel a part of the news conversation.
  • User bio and photo(s).
  • User content.
  • User's blog highlighted.
  • User-interest tagging.
  • User's news interests and expertise.

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