Transfer rumours, robot journalism and The Guardian: when it makes sense to put a poll BEFORE the article

Football transfer rumours  Daley Blind to Manchester United    Football   theguardian.com

Nice work by The Guardian (above) in their online reporting on transfer rumours: readers of each report are presented with a vote on whether they think the rumour is likely to be true before they get to read the full article.

It’s a good example of putting interactivity – and distribution – front and centre when the headline has already done most of the editorial work.

It’s also a good example of making the most of editorial content which is inherently social: transfer rumours are the sort of conversational fodder people buy newspapers for.

Not only does this make it easy to ‘spend’ (share) that social currency – but it also saves the user time in adding their own opinion (‘likely’/’unlikely’).

The newspaper benefits too, and not only from reader data (you have to be logged in to Facebook).

The vote is visual content that adds to the original: summarising users’ opinions on the credibility of the rumour. Atletico to sign Schurrle? isn’t just an article about the rumour – it’s a subheading saying that the majority of fans think it ‘Unlikely’. Robot journalism, if you like.

UPDATE: Claire Miller (see tweeted comments below) points out that Trinity Mirror’s regional newspapers have been embedding a similar poll “for a while”. You can see an example here.

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