Wick Communications

10 things to know today

In Ideas on 12 Dec 2013 at 3:12 pm

10 things

The Ontario Argus-Observer has started doing something that has caught the attention of many of us around the company. It’s running a package of Associated Press stories branded as “10 Things to Know Today.”

Editor Scott McIntosh said it was partly a response to shrinking newshole for wire national and international news. Scott wanted readers to have some idea of the day’s talking points, even if he couldn’t provide the full story.

“Even if it is just one sentence, our readers will at least know what someone is talking about when a friend tweets, ‘I’m praying for Oklahoma today,’” Scott said in an email to me.

Scott says AP sends out “10 Things to Know” twice a day, including once at 7 a.m. That is perfect for his cycle. Sometimes the AP sends only a headline and a sentence and he has to find the appropriate story to fill in a couple graphs. It just depends on how much space he has. …

I think it’s a great idea that isn’t fully realized … yet. Can you imagine using this concept for local stories? The Half Moon Bay Review has about 35 local stories and briefs in every edition. In addition to that, there are always a half-dozen community events coming up in the next day or so. What if we stole the Argus-Observer idea, replaced wire with local tidbits, added a photo or perhaps a poll of the day from the website, and packaged it in the same place every edition. Now, that would be cool.

Packaging information in digestible bites the way the Argus-Observer does makes a lot of sense. Newspaper readers are creatures of habit. They like to see sports and opinion and the man-in-the-street in the same location, every time. Give it some thought. If you have AP, this is sort of a no-brainer idea for wire copy. And it’s a far sight better than running 30-inch wire stories from China.

Clay

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