Giving the Audience Some ‘Space’ of Their Own

[Keyword: ]. Steve Outing is offering some tips for news organisations to give the audience a space of their own, making the compelling argument: “MySpace and Facebook are among the most successful media-related enterprises on the Web right now […] Yet with rare exceptions, the newspaper industry is avoiding this personal-page and social-networking trend“.

His tips include:

Give every reporter and columnist their own personal page (a sort of MySpace space for professionals). Items to include:

— Bio section. Description of the journalist’s career and personal interests, including photos.
— Links to previous work.
— Any coverage of the journalist; external articles or profiles of him or her.
— Aggregation of reader comments to the journalist’s published work.
— A Q&A feature (or forum), where readers can directly ask a question of the journalist, and even talk among themselves about the person’s work.
— The journalist’s blog. (I think every journalist should have a blog, as a venue to interact with his or her readers, let them know what he/she is working on, and as an outlet for interesting stuff collected by the journalist that otherwise doesn’t have a home in the newspaper or on the website.)“

invite online readers in. I mean giving them space, inviting them to become part of the news conversation, and facilitating communication between readers who share interests in the news or specific slices of it.
Here’s my prescription for creating within a news site a place for readers/users to call their own — and start to feel a part of the news conversation.

  • User bio and photo(s).
  • User content.
  • User’s blog highlighted.
  • User-interest tagging.
  • User’s news interests and expertise.

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