How can online news sites improve?

Communication

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.

Something Extra

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.

Some examples:

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.

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."