This past semester Syracuse University dealt with two deaths and two suicides for students in addition to a text message alert due to a nearby shooting. Whenever possible, I immediately jumped online to read about the breaking news. Picking up a newspaper the next day, though, never happened.
As a magazine consumer and journalist, I’ve always leaned towards currency for a news value more than timeliness. I want analysis and wisdom, not just a small piece of the puzzle.
Online, though, information revolves around my fingertips, not an editor’s. Why do newspapers maintain the top-down hierarchy of print editions online, though? Customized electronic editions seem a step in the right direction, but measures like Google News and My Times constantly throw information in one’s face, often pushing unnecessary information in a “customized” manner.
This seems to miss the point. Customized options should allow a reader’s history of articles read reflect similar articles. These articles should not bombard the reader but present themselves in a fashion similar to new messages in e-mail. Articles would que themselves based on readers’ pre-selected preferences, and varying combinations of similar stories and random stories would also que. These combinations, of course, would be based on what the reader wants.