Posted by: structureofnews | August 29, 2010

Small Steps

Amy Gahran,  at the Knight Digital Media Center, references Structured Journalism to talk about steps news organizations could take to make their content more persistent and useful to readers down the road.  There’s good, straightforward advice there on how to edit stories so they make more sense down the road.

There’s more to Structured Journalism than just that, of course, but it’s a very useful first step and a proof of concept in some ways.  Another small step would be for news organizations to write up simple and succinct summaries of stories; not only could they return better search results, but can also help seed other news products, such as a time line.

Time lines currently have to be handbuilt to be useful; or they reference the lead of old stories, that may or may not tell you a lot.  A time line that uses summaries of stories would be much more helpful to readers – so instead of some anecdotal lead, for example, the summary could simply say “a reconstruction of the whatever event.”

In any case, just another reminder that the journey has to start to small steps and confidence-building measures.

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