What readers want

Posted on May 11, 2006 
Filed Under Uncategorized

In The Perfect News Site, 2016 Dave Pettit suggests readers want more context, new ways to filter news, fewer ads and more telegenic reporters.

WSJ.com asked its readers to describe their perfect site in 2016.

Here’s a sampling:

1. “I would like to receive only news that is news to me, not news that I have already read or heard.”

2. “Some days I think we were all blessed when we had [just] an evening newspaper and the 6:30 network news.”

3. As site that is able “to filter, prioritize and effectively size the amount of news to my needs. I may want to know that a shooting has occurred in Lower Phoenix, but not want the 20 different eyewitness statements.”

4. The perfect news site “…will literally be in the palm of our hand” The next generation would have a hard drive, a bigger screen and a better “input device.”

5. News sites will morph into directories of information: “Instead of clicking on pages, there will be a hierarchy of news by section (world, national, regional, business, sports, lifestyle)”

6. “Instead of having to duplicate my holdings all over the Web so I can get customized news from various sources, I would login to my secure [brokerage] account and there I would find, alongside my portfolio, links to WSJ news and articles.”

7. The perfect site would be “completely voice-activated” site.

8. “Ads take up screen real estate and are distracting and annoying.” Sites should offer subscriptions to special advertising-free versions of their coverage – or versions with just tiny ads at the bottom of each page.

9. Another reader made the point that sites should choose one revenue stream and stick to it. His point: The perfect news site wouldn’t sell ads, require subscription fees and charge for extra features, such as archived articles.

10.”Editors will be a thing of the past. Instead, users will vote content to the front page. Fact checkers will be the only staff left as they verify and comment on the information posted be the community of readers. In the next decade the broadcaster and the reader will merge into one.”

11.”Instead of traditional news bureaus, a sophisticated network of freelancers, some with no journalistic experience, will act as correspondents, filing stories from computers inside their homes from around the world. The news will be more in depth, and news will be covered much faster.”

12. “When you report quarterly profits for a corporation (Exxon, for example) that are unusually large, allow me to see a ‘popup’ of the profits for the last eight quarters so I can understand what is large.”

13. “Your reporters…find out all sorts of things when writing an article or cover a business, but these don’t always fit into the form of a news article. They should be dumped into an encyclopedia.”

14. “I see a large selection of live streaming video, for example, being offered to you once you log in based on your interests. Codes embedded in the video will allow search engines to find video on warehouse fires, for example, and push them to you.”

15.”The perfect Web site will be a mix of print news, video and audio news. News Web sites will also compete with 24-hour cable news and major networks by offering prime-time news programming on the Web.”

16.”By 2016 we will doubtless see more ‘pretty faces’ in the pressroom than we do today. I predict that Dow Jones & Co. will be adding cosmetic surgery to the roster of employee benefits.”

MORE.

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