Last week, I gave a presentation at the N.C. Press Association’s Newspaper Academy at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Next week, I join 38 other UNC-Chapel Hill faculty members on a five-day bus tour across the state — from Shackleford Banks to Cherokee. The Tar Heel Bus Tour was launched in 1997 to give new faculty members a head start on learning about the state we serve. Continue reading “Coming Up Next…Tar Heel Bus Tour”
While watching campaign coverage here in North Carolina earlier this week, I was reminded of one of my longtime frustrations with live election returns — it’s a game news sites have to play, but cannot win.
Although I don’t hear this as often as I once did, the claim that online heads shouldn’t give away the whole story is one that pops up now and again in my conversations with editors. The editors — addled by increasing pressure to increase revenue by increasing ad inventory by increasing page views — surmise (rightly) that some readers come to their homepages simply for a quick nibble of news headlines, and that online news editors should, therefore, write teaser heads that don’t give away the milk.
On one hand, maybe they’re right. After all, teasers have been a feature of broadcast news for years.
On the other hand, this mentality flies in the face of just giving the customer what he or she wants. And, as we all know, the customer is always right.
So, how much of a tease will the online audience tolerate? Are younger readers, who are more likely to quickly click links in search of the information they want, more likely than older readers, who often carefully assess their choices before clicking on a link, more tolerant of teaser heads? Does the perceived urgency or relevancy of a headline cause readers to be more or less likely to click on teaser heads? Is there some measurement of vagueness that would allow us to find the right balance between serving our reader customers and serving our advertising customers?
I had nothing to do with it, but I was happy to see three students I had in my Online News Writing and Editing classes this year get a shout out on newsobserver.com for their work this semester with the Under the Dome blog.
That partnership was a great example of what can happen when good students get paired up with a patient, energetic and innovative journalist like Ryan Teague Beckwith, the reporter who minds the blog.
Over at his blog, Under the Dome, at NewsObserver.com, Ryan Teague Beckwith points out another interesting online political communication question: What’s the relationship between candidate messages in paid media, free media coverage of those messages and Google searches related to those messages?
And who are the Google searchers on political terms? Are they The Influentials? Young People? Newspaper readers? Non-voters? All of the above?
North Carolina Republican gubernatorial candidate argues that they are.
But what’s he talking about? Page views? Unique visitors?
What parts of the site are busiest? Fundraising? Issue briefings?
How are people finding his site? Google “earned search”? Online ads? Media coverage?