Dispatches from the living amongst journalism's walking dead

Making enterprise journalism “web reader” friendly

If there’s one thing Gawker knows, it’s how to hook in online audiences. If you aren’t a regular reader, you may not have noticed something nifty they do with long stories. In addition to publishing a longer narrative story about the ‘balloon boy’ stunt recently, they also published a bulleted “Cliffs Notes” version of the story for the scanning reader.

The Nieman Lab took a favorable look at the practice, and I can’t help but agree it’s something we should be taking a lesson on.

Newspaper and magazine reporters who want online audiences to appreciate the fruits of their labor poured into lengthy watchdog pieces and enterprise journalism should consider writing a shorter, bulleted synopsis version to run online, with a link to the full-length piece.

I know, you’d love it if your prize-worthy story were appreciated by all readers, but you and I know that just isn’t going to happen. If you write a “web friendly” version, those facts you gathered, at least, can get some traction, even if your prose has been trimmed out.


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  1. Doesn’t Gawker pay their writers per click through, so they are highly motivated to hook you and get you to click through to the full story.
    Thought I read that somewhere.

    • They pay by page views, I think, yes. Of course, if they write two versions of the same story – a long and a short – they probably stand to get more page views overall.

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