Sara quinn writing_across_platforms_atlanta_press_club

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  • 1. SARA QUINN / THE POYNTER INSTITUTE FOR MEDIA STUDIES The importance of writing in the digital age
  • 2. Writingisthecommon denominatorinmedia.
  • 3. Whatsortofwritingisneededfor:
  • 4. Whatsortofwritingisneededfor: socialmedia?
  • 5. Whatsortofwritingisneededfor: socialmedia? anewspaper?
  • 6. Whatsortofwritingisneededfor: socialmedia? anewspaper? aTVnewsreport?
  • 7. Whatsortofwritingisneededfor: socialmedia? anewspaper? aTVnewsreport? tabletoramobilephone?
  • 8. How do you read?
  • 9. How do you read? a novel?
  • 10. How do you read? a novel? a breaking news story?
  • 11. How do you read? a novel? a breaking news story? about buying a new camera?
  • 12. How do you read? a novel? a breaking news story? about buying a new camera? about medical symptoms for child?
  • 13. How do you read? a novel? a breaking news story? about buying a new camera? about medical symptoms for child? about the best weekend getaway?
  • 14. Instapaper.com
  • 15. Instapaper.com Longform.org
  • 16. Instapaper.com Longform.org Longreads.com
  • 17. http://plympton.com/
  • 18. 98% 80% 71% 66% 62%73% 65% 56% 50% 52% 75% 66% 55% 49% In our study, more text was read online, regardless of length. 1 THRU 4 INCHES 5 THRU 7 INCHES 8 THRU 11 INCHES 12 THRU 18 INCHES 19 OR MORE INCHES Online Tabloid Broadsheet Story length: 67% Averagepercentofstoryread
  • 19. Doesthismeanthat allonlinestories shouldbelong?
  • 20. Nope. Tobepractical,itreallydepends onthedeviceandthesituation.
  • 21. Whatdopeoplewant? Howmuchtimedotheyhave? Wheredotheywantit?
  • 22. Abrandnewobservation whilestudyinghowpeople readoniPadsandtablets:
  • 23. Anoverallaverageofaminuteandahalf (98.3seconds)wasspentonthefirststory apersonselectedtoread. THE BEHAVIORS:
  • 24. Anoverallaverageofaminuteandahalf (98.3seconds)wasspentonthefirststory apersonselectedtoread. Ofthepeoplewhodidnotfinishreadingastory, theyreadforanaverageof78.3seconds beforeleavingthestoryentirely. THE BEHAVIORS:
  • 25. Anoverallaverageofaminuteandahalf (98.3seconds)wasspentonthefirststory apersonselectedtoread. Ofthepeoplewhodidnotfinishreadingastory, theyreadforanaverageof78.3seconds beforeleavingthestoryentirely. We’vebeencallingthisthe“bailoutpoint.” THE BEHAVIORS:
  • 26. Anditmightbeagoodbenchmark forestablishinga“goldcoin”tokeep thereaderengagedabouthalfway throughalongstory. THE BEHAVIORS:
  • 27. Thiscouldbeasimplepulloutquotefrom someonewhohasyettoappearinthestory. THE BEHAVIORS:
  • 28. Thiscouldbeasimplepulloutquotefrom someonewhohasyettoappearinthestory. Or,aninformativevisualelementthatkeeps thereaderinterested. THE BEHAVIORS:
  • 29. Thiscouldbeasimplepulloutquotefrom someonewhohasyettoappearinthestory. Or,aninformativevisualelementthatkeeps thereaderinterested. Oraquicksummary ofkeypointstohelpthe readerfeelsatisfiedwith whatthey’velearned. THE BEHAVIORS:
  • 30. Howdoyouread whenyouaresearching?
  • 31. Scanningreadersaresearchingthepage, ratherthanreadingwordforword.
  • 32. Whentheyarelookingforinformation,they readsubheadsandthefirstwordsofparagraphs.
  • 33. Somemightcallthisinformationforaging. OntheWeb,wehuntforfacts.
  • 34. Whenpeoplearelookingforinformation,they readsubheadsandthefirstwordsofparagraphs.
  • 35. Therearetimeswhenyou mightwanttokeepthings shortandsweet.
  • 36. Ourbuddy,RoyPeterClark arguesthatanystorycanbe toldwellinjust…
  • 37. Ourbuddy,RoyPeterClark arguesthatanystorycanbe toldwellinjust… 800words
  • 38. Afewtipsforwriting:
  • 39. Neverburythelead. You can’t usually afford to bury the lead because if you do, few readers will get to it.
  • 40. Don’tpileon. In an effort to seem as current as possible with breaking news, sites will often put the latest development in a story at the top — no matter how incremental the development.
  • 41. Writetightandlively. Write actively, not passively.
  • 42. Writetightandlively. Good broadcast writing uses primarily tight, simple declarative sentences and sticks to one idea per sentence.
  • 43. Writetightandlively. Good broadcast writing uses primarily tight, simple declarative sentences and sticks to one idea per sentence. It avoids the longer clauses of print writing.
  • 44. Writetightandlively. Good broadcast writing uses primarily tight, simple declarative sentences and sticks to one idea per sentence. It avoids the longer clauses of print writing. You’re writing for the ear. How can you help the listener to see what you’re saying?
  • 45. Writetightandlively. Writing for the web, tablet and mobile should be a cross between broadcast and print -- tighter and punchier than print -- more literate and detailed than broadcast writing
  • 46. Putthepowerattheend. This is a broadcast tip. It’s also magical for print.
  • 47. Putthepowerattheend. This is a broadcast tip. It’s also magical for print. Powerful stories have powerful sentences.
  • 48. Putthepowerattheend. This is a broadcast tip. It’s also magical for print. Powerful stories have powerful sentences. Identify the most important or surprising part of every sentence and order the information accordingly.
  • 49. SEO Searchengineoptimization
  • 50. Writesearchableheadlines.
  • 51. Writesearchableheadlines. Punny headlines need context. Your head will likely be read on a mobile phone, too. Your audience is global.
  • 52. Doesthisworkfordigital?
  • 53. Doesthiswork?
  • 54. Writesearchableheadlines. Most people don’t go to your homepage to find what they want to read, they use RSS feeds, etc.
  • 55. Writesearchableheadlines. Most people don’t go to your homepage to find what they want to read, they use RSS feeds, etc. Be realistic about what people will search for.
  • 56. Writesearchableheadlines. Most people don’t go to your homepage to find what they want to read, they use RSS feeds, etc. Be realistic about what people will search for. Use unique, proper nouns: places, people, things.
  • 57. Writesearchableheadlines. The first one to four words are the most important.
  • 58. Writesearchableheadlines. The first one to four words are the most important. Be clear and concise. You have just a few seconds.
  • 59. Bestraightforward. When people click on something that’s not worth it, they lose trust in you as a source and are less likely to come back and click on things in the future.
  • 60. Writetheinvisibletext. About 10 percent of text is read only by machines. It’s called metadata, and it’s incredibly important.
  • 61. Writetheinvisibletext. Use the words that your audience will look for most. Use free keyword help services like Google. https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__c=1000000000&__u=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS
  • 62. Here’swhatyouneedto writeformostpages:
  • 63. Don’tfearthelink. Linking back to your own work is crucial to SEO.
  • 64. Don’tfearthelink. Studies suggest that links to supporting information improve the credibility of your content. People go to sites that do a good job of compiling click-worthy links.
  • 65. • Connectyouraudiencewitheverythingyou havepublishedpreviouslyaboutatopic Friday, January 27, 2012
  • 66. • Connectyouraudiencewitheverythingyou havepublishedpreviouslyaboutatopic Friday, January 27, 2012
  • 67. • Connectyouraudiencewitheverythingyou havepublishedpreviouslyaboutatopic Friday, January 27, 2012
  • 68. • Connectyouraudiencewitheverythingyou havepublishedpreviouslyaboutatopic Friday, January 27, 2012
  • 69. • Connectyouraudiencewitheverythingyou havepublishedpreviouslyaboutatopic Friday, January 27, 2012
  • 70. Don’tfearthelink. Don’t worry about writing: “for more information, here’s a link.” The visual cue will be enough. Remember Fitz’s Law.
  • 71. Helppeopleskimanddive. Boldfaced or highlighted words grab the eye.
  • 72. Helppeopleskimanddive. Highlight about three times as many words online as you would in a print article. Bullets and lists draw attention to important points. Use subheads to keep people reading.
  • 73. Makethemostofconversation.
  • 74. Makethemostofconversation. When people make it to the end of your story, give them someplace relevant to go. Don’t make them scroll all the way back to the top. Let them respond.
  • 75. Talk about a story. Share a story. Recommend a story.
  • 76. Give readers a way to participate.
  • 77. Takecareofyourbaby. Update your stories with new developments, links, supporting data. When it comes to the digital world, your work is a living thing.
  • 78. “Always get the name of the dog.” Advice from Roy Peter Clark, Poynter vice president and senior scholar: Saturday, March 22, 2014
  • 79. Dig for the concrete and specific, details that appeal to the senses. Saturday, March 22, 2014
  • 80. “I remember a police story in the St. Pete Times. It was an oppressively hot, humid Florida day, and things started to go badly for a family who lived in town. “First the air-conditioner broke down, making it unbearably sticky for the husband, wife, and mother-in-law. The mother-in-law’s irritation increased when the TV went on the blink.” Saturday, March 22, 2014
  • 81. “The reporter didn’t tell me, but I wanted to know … what was the woman watching at the time? Was it Jeopardy? Wheel of Fortune? Maybe One Life to Live? “The older woman complained to her son-in-law that the TV wasn’t working. So the son-in-law did what any Florida man would do under such circumstances: He shot out the screen of the television set with a handgun.” Saturday, March 22, 2014
  • 82. “What followed was a stand-off with police and the man’s eventual surrender. “The reporter, does tell us, bless her, that the man’s foul mood and subsequent violence were influenced by the fact that he drank 24 cans of beer that day. Black Label beer. “Not Heineken or Budweiser or Coors. But Black Label. Saturday, March 22, 2014
  • 83. “What followed was a stand-off with police and the man’s eventual surrender. “The reporter, does tell us, bless her, that the man’s foul mood and subsequent violence were influenced by the fact that he drank 24 cans of beer that day. Black Label beer. “Not Heineken or Budweiser or Coors. But Black Label. “No wonder he shot out the television.” Saturday, March 22, 2014
  • 84. Roy Peter Clark Poynter Vice President “Always get the name of the dog.” (Or, the beer.) Saturday, March 22, 2014