As newspapers struggle to reinvent themselves (read: re-monetize), one idea put forth by Loose Wire blog is that newspapers should change the way they write content to fit with today's always on-the-go society – short and to the point. The author recounts an experience about trying to read a Wall Street Journal article on his Blackberry while sitting in the back of a cab. The article in question is long and wordy and Loose Wire blog concludes that, "The language of journalism, in short, needs to catch up with the fact that we consume it now in dozens of different ways" and suggests the newspapers should write for the mobile audience.
This idea scares me. I hate the idea of only getting the "news." I want to know why, what happened before, and what people think might happen next. There's a difference between news articles, feature articles, and news feature articles. News features paint pictures, give historical context and offer multiple sides to an issue. To me, cabs are not the place to read anything I need to think about (given that you're probably simultaneously giving directions, fumbling for change, all while fearing for your life as the driver weaves in and out of traffic). There are certainly mobile phone applications to get headlines – but I don't want just headlines. I want a print paper I can read on the front porch with a cup of coffee. I also want the article online so I can click on links for the accompanying photo slideshow, or look up details to an unfamiliar historical event.
That said, newspapers do need to make sure they're not losing the mobile audience to bloggers, who can often update news faster (though, not always more accurately, the New York Times reports: ). It's a matter of augmenting content – mobile editions, headlines only – not, losing the adjectives and interpretations that build loyalty among readers.
- Contributed by Sue Ferranti. Follow her @sueferranti