Online Publishing provides perspective

The three textbooks read for Online Publishing class

By Mark Godi

What did I learn in Online Journalism? Answer: Too much to fit into one blog.

All the same, I will take a shot.

I think what hit me the hardest this class was the idea of perspective. Know the audience and understand what they see. Then, reading each classmate’s blogs, perspective further resonated with me.

If you want to reach an online audience, go beyond presenting information. Web reporting requires a new level of catering to the consumer. To do this, publishers must learn to understand what people want. They want information fast, at their convenience, which is easy to understand. Often times, they want to get in and get out. To make them stay, your site has to be interactive.

This thinking connected with me on several parts of each reading, but probably most in Don’t Make Me Think. In my earlier evaluation of Steven Krug’s book, I talk about liking his chapter on usability testing. That chapter still has me pondering. It is easy to build web pages for my likes or the bosses likes. Let testers come in again and again and then listen to them. Be humble.

There is no room for narrow mindedness. The consumer has the control or a “voice.” Want proof? Ask NBC how much Olympic coverage has been embraced. Their Sports Group Chairman is already talking about changes in the future.

As much as I fell in love with Krug’s lesson, classmate Sylvia Mendoza offered her own perspective.

“The chapter on usability testing was long and drawn out; not as concise as other chapters. The “what bosses think” chapter also seemed laborious to wade through. The info here could have been condensed and even inserted into an already-established chapter.”

I didn’t struggle with the chapter like she did. Who opinion is better? Who knows? The book would need to be usability tested. Adjustments may be made depending on popular feedback.

A cartoon about usability testing from Don’t Make Me Think

Reading Aim For the Heart, the idea of interaction lingered. Consumers don’t want a lot to read. They want to “play.” They want to share, email, make a comment, vote in a poll or play a game. Interaction was a fraction of the book, but largely what I wrote about in my Week 2 response. Sylvia and Glenda McCray-Fikes are the only others to mention it in great detail.

Meanwhile, Sylvia, Glenda and Jane Clifford-Mickler each did like myself and ended their Aim For the Heart response talking about the social media guidelines for journalist.

Michael Simpson, however, wrote how he found the tugging at audience’s “heart strings” most relevant.

We all interpreted content similar, yet each gravitated toward particular ideas.

In the last reading, Linked, author Albert-Laszló Barabási asks readers to change perspective as well. They are asked to see the perspective of the group or “network.” Those closest people to you are in fact not the ones most important at times. It is the acquaintances or distantly connected that need to be investigated.

I panicked during the reading that I didn’t understand Barabási’s heavy dialogue.  My feelings were put at ease when several others in the class mentioned difficulty.

Sylvia, once again, interprets like I do. She makes mention early in her first Linked response that the content was hard to digest. In class, I think it was Jane who made mention of struggling to get through concepts as Barabási relates to mathematics.

Don’t for a minute think you’re alone. But don’t think you know what you’re doing enough to go on cruise control.

In the fast moving world that is journalism, it’s easy to get caught up in yourself. It’s easy to think you know how something works and move forward. It is not as easy to step back and see what gets results.

My blog posts did not have links before this class. Now they will. Making a headline clever was priority No. 1. Now I will think hard about search engine optimization. I vow from now on to take a billboard mind set. After I omit words from a story, I will read again and omit.

Thank you professor Collington. I hope we can stay in contact.

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