Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The importance of feeling connected

The world of news is not really changing, as the world may believe in the sense that newspapers are fading away. It is more of a metamorphosis, a form of suspended animation as new technology pushing forward. This brings about a real concern as journalism advisers we are charged with task to motivate our staff creating interesting topics that will result in loyal readership. Yesterday at the Reynolds Institute ASNE President Milton Coleman discussed the vital need for newspaper readership to be an “experience.” “News has to be important to people,” said Coleman.

Media outlets are vying for immediacy to get the news to the readers.  In that instance the landscape has consumed and forgotten the intent that Coleman stated.  In a press release from the Readership Institute, a 2003 Newspaper Experience Study showed readership is based on the ability for a newspaper to provide the reader with “something to talk about”.

How do we garner readership and get them talking? One option is by creating user generated press.  The ability to have viral coverage from the audience garners a buy-in from the community that can create loyalty among readership via Twitter, Facebook, RSS Feeds, localized blogs and more. This technology is already in place allowing the reader to grab noteworthy news bites via iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones.  To many high school students these items are second nature.

ASNE High Journalism Initiative Senior Project Director, Diana Mitsu Klos stated that there are numerous options for an adviser to become an online newsroom; one is my.hsj.org which operates as a collective of almost 4,000 youth news sites. Here students can write and experience relative news events occurring on their campus and even on competing campuses. This site is a perfect launchpad for those new to online publishing.  Seasoned veterans of online will find it provides numerous uses to aid in providing that experience.

Brent Manuel
Pleasant Valley High
Chico, Calif.

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