Do you read letters to the editor or from the editor?

13 Feb

Do you see yourself in your local newspaper?

Do you see yourself in your local newspaper?

Are people more interested in the voice of the community or the voice of authority?

 

The Poynter Institute’s 2007 Eyetracking studies found that when the “voice of the newspaper” (editorials, op-ed columnists) was compared with the “voice of the reader” (letters to the editor and reader feedback) a whopping 68 percent paid more attention than expected to the “voice of the reader.”

 

The great spigot of ego that is your average broadsheet keeps this voice to a trickle.

 

Imagine multiple pages of reader-generated content, or reader comments highlighted on the front page of a print product or the homepage of its online edition.

 

Keep imagining.

 

A robust online community is a continuing conversation and learning process. Compare the functionality of a newspaper op-ed page with this limitless volume of local information and ask whether the long tail is actually the source of energy that wags the dog.

 

People are passionate about their ideas. When a team of reporters or editors generate a story about their ideas they light a wick that generates ideas for readers. Making the “after-story” more prominent, elevating the responses, and sharing the stage is a lot to ask of publishers.

 

People are most passionate about their content, and secondarily your content.

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