Online multimedia production has for a few years now come with the guidance to ‘chunk’ content: instead of producing linear content, as you would for a space in a linear broadcast schedule, you split your content into specific chunks of material that each tackles a different aspect of the issue or story being covered. Interfaces like these show the idea in practice best:
The concept is particularly well explained by Mindy McAdams (on text), and Andy Dickinson (on video, below): Continue reading →
In the first part of a five-part series, I explore how and why a talent for brevity is one of the basic skills an online journalist needs – whether writing an article or employing multimedia. This will form part of a forthcoming book on online journalism – comments very much invited.
It shouldn’t have to be said that the web is different, but I’ll say it anyway: the web is different. It is not print, it is not television, it is not radio.
So why write content for the web in the same way that you might write for a newspaper or a news broadcast?
Organisations used to do this, and some still do. It was called ‘shovelware’, a process by which content created for another medium (generally print) was ‘shovelled’ onto the web with nary a care for whether that was appropriate or not.
It was not.
People read websites very differently to how they read newspapers, watch television or listen to radio. For a start, they read 25% slower than they do with print – this is because computer screens have a much lower resolution than print: 72 dots in every square inch compared to around 150-300 in newspapers and magazines (this may change, but usage patterns are likely to stay the same for some time yet).
As a result, you need to communicate your story in less time than you would in print. You need to develop brevity. Continue reading →