Writing for Online 2013

463 views
382 views

Published on

From Jakob Nielsen to Buzzfeed. A look at how to write for online news, with a focus on structure, links, headlines and social media. Undergraduate lecture by Tim Currie, Assistant Professor at the University of King's College School of Journalism in Halifax, Canada.

Published in: Education, Business
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
463
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
19
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
6
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Participant in Nielsen study (1997):“If I’m not doing something, I don’t feel like I am being productive.”
  • HeadDeckImageCaptionLede
  • Narrative story with items grouped together
  • Listicles!Applicability to news? Not always
  • ListicleStory is purposefully written as a list
  • Re: BuzzFeed …We thought Nielsen’s idea about bullet lists could only apply to textBut visual bullet lists work great.Can news be done in lists? (The Day Lehman Died)BuzzFeed Adds Politico Writer Ben Smith
  • HUffPost
  • So this original research was (relatively) conducted in the stone age. What about today?July 2009iPhone weather (easy)What time is this movie playing at your local theatre (it took participants AGES)Can’t get anything done!Apps helpShow Google Now on iPhone?
  • Fat finger problem
  • 2 years later …Content that was large enough to read but too small to tap.Xx3.particularly in apps lacking a Back button.4. People didn't know what was touchable5. avoided the registration process
  • What is it? Content that is reused in different forms
  • Here’s a page from the Chronicle Herald.Clever!: millionaires / power execs? Get it?
  • Yes, indeed, people with money tend to have influence.And …The point?(it’s lost without the visual reference to Emera)
  • Teasers – see red circleNielsen:Microcontent needs to be pearls of clarity: you get 40-60 characters to explain your macrocontent.
  • Search vs socialLike our Globe headline earlier, the headline makes sense w/ a photo.But we’ve got another problem — no keywords
  • Search engines pay attention to headings – in HTML an h1 or h2 tagAlso What is it?Getting ranked higherAvoid politically correct language1) We might say visually challenged – no – no one searches for that.
  • Get it? Connie Francis song (1958): Who’s sorry now?But the keywords don’t need to be be visible on the page -- in the deck or second-tier headline -- in order to be usefulTake a look at the blurb n this Googl result: “Why globalization is no threat to this gorgeous Indian outlit”Where did Google get the text for its description?It’s called a meta tag — and it’s a second Rendered as what Google calls a snippet
  • Think it’s changed?Sept. 15, 2013Why not a link to the party platforms?
  • This linked text is not great.Where does the link look like it’s going?[next page] let’s see where it actually goes ….
  • Not about …How to build engagement How Facebook and Twitter work – how the FB algorithm worksOr about what kind of content works best in social mediaWish I could but …Some basic guidelines:
  • FB:VideoImageLinktext
  • Bradshaw examplesIt’s not about reading – it’s about doing
  • Ottawa Citizen columnistThere’s a nugget of detail that attracts conversationOften it’s not the headlineWhy?: I know how much orange juice costs!F-35 fighter jets $30 billion? $100 billion?
  • Awe-inspiring
  • This is a story from a couple of week earlier on the same topic.Take a look at the headline Now see what the social snippet is:
  • Emotion does well in soclal mediaSocial is about “you”“Good” is a positive emotionWeb headline is longer than the tweet
  • Here’s someone whoMichael Babad“stark naked”!!Greece in chaosInsolvencyI always click on his Globe headline in my email box.I can almost Sometimes I’m disappointed – but I always clickGreat story in the NYT yesterday about Business InsiderGreat headlines like “housing disaster” – often not accurate.What do you think?
  • ListsAbout YouAmped up – ExtraordinaryAmped up – BestAmped up – Perfect… and there’s news
  • Writing for Online 2013

    1. 1. ONLINE WRITING 1 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Online Tim Currie tim.currie@ukings.ca @tscurrie
    2. 2. ONLINE WRITING 2 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Online Writing 1. Structure 2. Links 3. Headlines & SEO 4. Social Media
    3. 3. ONLINE WRITING 3 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Jakob Nielsen: • He researches usability: how people consume content online • At Sun Microsystems he investigated how people interacted with their computers • He authored a 1997 landmark study on Web usability NIELSEN NORMAN GROUP
    4. 4. ONLINE WRITING 4 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Research Reading online is different from reading on paper (1997): • Most people don’t read online — they scan – Only 16% read a page word for word – 79% of readers scan a page first • Reading online is 25% slower than reading on paper
    5. 5. ONLINE WRITING 5 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Research By Nielsen’s Peers Stanford University/ Poynter Institute EyeTracker studies (2000 & 2004): – Eyes go to text first – Briefs/teasers are popular – A headline has less than 1 sec. of a site visitor's attention STANFORD UNIVERSITY
    6. 6. ONLINE WRITING 6 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Research • People don’t want to read a lot online. Why? • Body position • Eyestrain • Many web pages are authored for print • It’s difficult to judge the end of the story • The web is action-driven. People love to click
    7. 7. ONLINE WRITING 7 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Recommendations for Web Pages Text should be scannable: 1) Highlighted keywords
    8. 8. ONLINE WRITING 8 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS • Quartz: Everything that led to Colorado’s record-breaking flood, and why it will only get worse
    9. 9. ONLINE WRITING 9 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Recommendations for Web Pages Text should be scannable: 2) At least two levels of headlines
    10. 10. ONLINE WRITING 10 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS • Toronto Star: Costa Concordia: Italian agency gives final OK to right cruise ship after checking weather conditions
    11. 11. ONLINE WRITING 11 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    12. 12. ONLINE WRITING 12 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Recommendations for Web Pages Text should be scannable: 3) Bulleted lists
    13. 13. ONLINE WRITING 13 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS • Globe and Mail: Unemployment, grim public housing fueling riots in Stockholm
    14. 14. ONLINE WRITING 14 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    15. 15. ONLINE WRITING 15 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS • Toronto Star: 10 fees you should avoid
    16. 16. ONLINE WRITING 16 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS • Buzzfeed: 20 Uniquely Brilliant Business Cards • Buzzfeed: The Day Lehman Died
    17. 17. ONLINE WRITING 17 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    18. 18. ONLINE WRITING 18 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Recommendations for Web Pages 4) One idea per paragraph; no more than three sentences in each 5) Inverted pyramid style 6)Write 50% less than you would in print on each page
    19. 19. ONLINE WRITING 19 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Clang! Creak! Tink, tink, tink tink. TING! In days past the sounds of a blacksmith’s shop were among the most distinctive noises found in towns and villages across North America. The sounds of village smithy pounding, bending and twisting metal were commonplace in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, however, with commercial hardware stores in many malls, the sounds of an operating blacksmith’s shop are pretty much relegated to the past. Or, maybe not, thanks to a new course offered at the Nova Scotia Community College. Most Nova Scotians under 60 have never heard the “clang! tink, tink, tink!” of a blacksmith at work. But a new course offered at the Nova Scotia Community College promises to introduce a new generation to the piercing, but once-familiar, sound.
    20. 20. ONLINE WRITING 20 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS News Style Guide: It's tempting to start a longer piece with some scene-setting and a few rhetorical flourishes. This is called "throat clearing" and is the product of an age when a newspaper article was something to be settled into gently, like favorite armchair.
    21. 21. ONLINE WRITING 21 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS "The place between 500 and 800 words is the place you don't want to be. It's not short and fast and focused and shareable, [and] it's not long enough to be a real payoff for readers." Kevin Delaney, president & editor-in-chief
    22. 22. ONLINE WRITING 22 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Recommendations for Web Pages 6) Graphical elements — tables, charts, photos, maps — help people absorb information 7) Casual language, sentence fragments work fine 8) Hypertext links aid credibility
    23. 23. ONLINE WRITING 23 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS A Newspaper Story
    24. 24. ONLINE WRITING 24 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS An Online Story
    25. 25. ONLINE WRITING 25 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Research (Mobile Devices, 2009) “Observing user suffering during our sessions reminded us of the very first usability studies we did with traditional websites in 1994. It was that bad."
    26. 26. ONLINE WRITING 26 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Research (Mobile Phones, 2009) Poor experience because: • Small screens • Awkward input • Slow download • Sites not designed for mobile APPLE
    27. 27. ONLINE WRITING 27 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Research (Tablets, 2011) 1. Read–tap asymmetry for websites 2. Touchable areas were too small in many apps 3. Accidental activation a big problem 4. Low discoverability 5. Users disliked typing APPLE
    28. 28. ONLINE WRITING 28 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    29. 29. ONLINE WRITING 29 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    30. 30. ONLINE WRITING 30 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    31. 31. ONLINE WRITING 31 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    32. 32. ONLINE WRITING 32 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    33. 33. ONLINE WRITING 33 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    34. 34. ONLINE WRITING 34 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    35. 35. ONLINE WRITING 35 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Recommendations for Headlines • The Issue: They are often displayed on their own, out of context
    36. 36. ONLINE WRITING 36 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Recommendations for Headlines On the eve of a new show at the Museum of Modern Art that celebrates his seminal works, legendary multimedia artist Michael Snow talks to Sarah Milroy about his heady, experimental days in New York.
    37. 37. ONLINE WRITING 37 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    38. 38. ONLINE WRITING 38 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    39. 39. ONLINE WRITING 39 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Nielsen’s Recommendations for Headlines (& Subheads) 1. Make it short & clear 2. No teasers 3. Write in plain language: no puns, no "cute" or "clever" headlines.
    40. 40. ONLINE WRITING 40 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Exercise http://goo.gl/75XKI0
    41. 41. ONLINE WRITING 41 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Headlines: Writing For SEO
    42. 42. ONLINE WRITING 42 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Headlines: Writing For SEO Military coffee supplier to take on Starbucks
    43. 43. ONLINE WRITING 43 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Headlines: Writing For SEO In headlines or meta descriptions: • Must contain searchable keywords • Plain, common words
    44. 44. ONLINE WRITING 44 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Headlines: Writing For SEO
    45. 45. ONLINE WRITING 45 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links 1. They are recommendations 2. By nature they signify importance 3. They build trust with readers by making the reporting transparent 4. They allow readers to further their own interest
    46. 46. ONLINE WRITING 46 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links
    47. 47. ONLINE WRITING 47 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links • Chronicle Herald: Liberals vow to cut wait times, add family doctors
    48. 48. ONLINE WRITING 48 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links
    49. 49. ONLINE WRITING 49 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links
    50. 50. ONLINE WRITING 50 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links
    51. 51. ONLINE WRITING 51 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links
    52. 52. ONLINE WRITING 52 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links
    53. 53. ONLINE WRITING 53 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links
    54. 54. ONLINE WRITING 54 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links
    55. 55. ONLINE WRITING 55 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links • Three to five words Link to: • Official websites: products or organizations • Announcements (news release or report) • Related stories • Facts: statistics or comments
    56. 56. ONLINE WRITING 56 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links • Indicate if content is other than a web page (Eg. PDF, video)
    57. 57. ONLINE WRITING 57 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links Click here to read the advisory group’s report. Better: The advisory group released its Recommendations for Waterfront Renewal (PDF) Tuesday. Check out this site for more information. The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia has a list of properties it considers threatened by development.
    58. 58. ONLINE WRITING 58 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links
    59. 59. ONLINE WRITING 59 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing Hypertext Links
    60. 60. ONLINE WRITING 60 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Social Media 1. Keep it short
    61. 61. ONLINE WRITING 61 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Social Media 2. Include links
    62. 62. ONLINE WRITING 62 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Social Media 3. Make language casual
    63. 63. ONLINE WRITING 63 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Social Media 4. Focus on action: • “Watch the video clip” • “Follow it live” • “Read the full story” • “View the picture gallery”
    64. 64. ONLINE WRITING 64 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Social Media 4. Find the Nugget of Social
    65. 65. ONLINE WRITING 65 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Social Media
    66. 66. ONLINE WRITING 66 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Social Media In a news story, what is the Nugget of Social? 1. A surprising fact 2. A vivid quote that humanizes the story 3. An issue or challenge that resonates
    67. 67. ONLINE WRITING 67 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Exercise: What’s the Nugget of Social? http://goo.gl/zZIWGT
    68. 68. ONLINE WRITING 68 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    69. 69. ONLINE WRITING 69 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Social Media
    70. 70. ONLINE WRITING 70 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Social Media
    71. 71. ONLINE WRITING 71 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Writing for Social Media
    72. 72. ONLINE WRITING 72 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    73. 73. ONLINE WRITING 73 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    74. 74. ONLINE WRITING 74 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS
    75. 75. ONLINE WRITING 75 JOUR 5153: REPORTING, WRITING & EDITING THE NEWS Exercise: What’s the Tweet? http://goo.gl/QqpWpC

    ×