Pushing journalism past interaction into personalization and digital brands

18 Apr

It’s a good point that the future of journalism lies in interacting with the users.

Media companies try to reach out by putting articles on the web and including videos, images and comment boxes with their online stories. But maybe it’s not enough.

Some ideas that continue to be tossed around as solutions are gearing news toward the younger audience, “frictionless sharing” and making sure users have input in the news. But perhaps the most influential ideas would be personalizing the news and making sure journalists have personal, digital brands.

When I say personalizing the news, I don’t mean having a search engine give the audience information most related to what that person usually searches for. I mean apps that allow users to choose their own most-related-information.

The personalization would be similar to Google Alerts, but instead of getting articles from all over the web, you would get related articles from the papers of your choosing.

Another viewpoint is to allow the audience itself to determine a news angle. This approach gives the audience a chance to explore topics it finds interesting and to really sift through the information already dug by journalists to come to a decision each individual determines as logical.

The idea is interesting in that it really opens up pathways for readers to “get lost in the news.” On first thought, it might seem like the role of the journalist is diminished when readers put together their own angles, but really, the role of journalists would be more important because they are producing facts for others to interpret.

This approach would not work for all stories. Investigative reporting, for example, should probably continue to be told as a story interpreted by the reporter(s) who uncovered the issue.

The other idea for new journalism is the notion that journalists should have personal, digital brands. This mostly means a blog, but the idea is more than that. Because journalists are now multidimensional and take photos, videos, write stories and publish, there is no reason they shouldn’t each be able to use their work to create a branded blog.

Many newspapers already have blogs, but rather than having blogs associated with the paper, stories should be kept with the paper and journalists should create their own (professional) blogs that are their own, not the paper’s, and give more insight into the stories they’ve created.

Marketing means a lot today. If journalists want to get a larger readership, they need to have an outlet separate from the paper, and they need to market themselves by showing how they are different from somebody else. It’s a way of giving the audience more options to choose from and more ways to interact with the news on a personal level, as well as giving journalists more flexibility to reach a larger audience.

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