How can online news sites improve?
In order to make online news sites better editors and writers must start listening to what readers want. Mindy McAdams, said in American Journalism Review, "The stories that seem great to a journalist make regular readers turn the page."
Online is a two-way medium. E-mail is a built-in capability. But, giving readers an e-mail address does help unless someone is reading the e-mail. Writers and editors should be reading and personally responding to e-mail.
Online forums are another way to get readers and writers interacting. Readers can post their comments and a staff member can write a response that everyone will see. Readers can then see that the news site is committed to a two-way communication.
Add extra content. A news site should have information that a reader can't get elsewhere so they will keep coming back. You could cover a specific industry, sport or region. You could add a database where the reader types in their zip code and receives the latest census information or rating on crime in the area.
Although each audience is different they all want something that will make them come back for more. McAdams said that something extra could be ratings of local consumer service, discussions of local issues through a forum, expert advice on education, nutrition or gardening.
- Florida Today writes about the space industry. Space Online supplements their articles with pictures, audio and video.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer is publishing a 30-part series about a battle between U.S. soldiers and Somalian rebels that took place in Oct. 1993. The series has maps, audio of interviews, pictures and videos of the battle.
- The Chicago Tribune has an interactive database about Illinois schools. The database lets readers see how schools did on statewide test scores, teacher-student ratio and how it compares to other schools in the area.
John Pavlik wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review that "Audiences for online news in the future will be drawn by a site's unique content and perspective, and by its quality."