Readers are not robots

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.

For details on this business plan, e-mail me at davetaube@gmail.com to negotiate a contract.
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