In a conversation yesterday about gaming, I was reminded that one of the fundamental challenges the news industry is facing (and one that it doesn’t seem to be addressing) is that the way we present news is pretty poor. The traditional article is a limited way to provide information or tell a story, and the traditional television package is even worse.
We’re getting slightly better at using the digital tools available to present information in the medium that fits it best, but we’re nowhere near fixing the experience of how a user navigates through information or stories (not between stories, within a single story). We should be providing pathways for people to consume information in all its rich context - whether they need historical background, to be grounded in geography, to feel the personal relevance of the news, it should all be there, easy to explore but not intrusive into the experience of any one piece of it.
Plenty of people are thinking about when to use slideshows or infographics, but why aren’t more people thinking about how all the elements of a story live together in a more harmonious and more usable way - one that helps a reader find the path they need to the components they want?
Here are some links I’ve come across recently on this topic, which I want to keep in mind as I think about it more and advance my own ideas (my 2009 thoughts seem a bit quaint now)…
Why We Need to Blow Up the Article in Order to Save it - Matthew Ingram
The future of news = small pieces, loosely joined
Robin Sloan on his “Fish” tap essay - The Verge
News Articles as Assets and Paths - Jeff Jarvis