Stick-figuring out the new news
The conference, which was attended by an ecumenical group of folks from the newspaper, magazine, television and academic worlds, was held at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada in Reno.
Organized by my friend Larry Dailey, the media-technology guru at the university, the event was facilitated by IDEO, the international design firm that has reconceived everything from kidney-transport systems to how elementary students are educated.
The big eye-opener at the conference, especially for us print types, is the need to use fewer words, provide more graphics, cultivate the social aspects of the web and leverage mobile technology more assiduously than we do today. For an example of streamlined presentation already in production, see Short Form Blog.
No one at the meeting, including me, regards the adoption of new ways of telling stories as a repudiation of traditional in-depth, investigative and long-form journalism. But we have to do something more than harrumph a lot to lure a generation of lite-readers back to the news.
In keeping with those observations, here is a summary of the proceedings, with the figures in stick and the words kept to the haiku minimum of 17 syllables per verse. The approach may be light-hearted but the message is dead serious.
Use fewer words, more graphics.
Make it graze-able.
Leverage the crowd.
Be lively, viral and fun.
Pay back the user.
Embrace small screens, build many apps.
GPS them all.