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Sunday, 2 September 2012

The future of digital journalism

This editorial titled "Transfer of Value" written for the Monday Note by Frederic Filloux, is worth a read, to get a perspective on the future of digital journalism. Filloux makes the brutal (but real) point that original and high quality content alone does not guarantee a large number of hits, page views, likes or engagement. Clever SEO does, using algorithms, AB testing of the headlines that garner the maximum hits and so does more controversial/ hard hitting headlines and search strings. Unfortunately the latter is the antithesis of classic good journalism which strives to retain objectivity in order to create credibility. But again, these are not the sole values that guarantee the engagement of a web audience.

To put it simply, the web is a vast maelstrom of content. To be discoverable is a huge challenge and requires an understanding of what people search for. And then, in order to be appealing and engaging to an audience with short attention span, who can go literally anywhere, you need to be brief and crisp. Filloux draws attention to an original WSJ article which was re-hashed by Huffington Post with a more catchy headline  and actually got more readers.

With the advent of digital, many industries will have to re-invent themselves to stay relevant and the conventional print media is certainly one such industry.