OPINION: Report Of Paper’s Death Is Greatly Exaggerated
LARRY BURRIS, Special to the Courier
Sunday, September 19, 2010 6:54 am
For the past couple of years we’ve been hearing about the so-called “death of newspapers.”
About how they are losing their influence and going out of business.
In the place of newspapers and broadcast news, we’ve seen a rise of so-called “internet reporters, ordinary citizens who have no real training in reporting or journalism.
Now, what a lot of people don’t realize is if you have created an I-report, and put it on a website, there are several tricks you can use to move yourself up on the various search engine results screen, tricks called “Search Engine Optimization.”
What a so-called SEO does is organize your website to make it score higher in the various search algorithms.
And what is particularly interesting is that many of these tricks go back to newspapers. You know, the newspapers we’ve been told are irrelevant and out-of-date.
To begin with, experts tell us you need to put a headline on your page.
You know, a headline, those words in a large type-face at the top of each newspaper story. The headline needs to tell people what your web report is about, just like a newspaper headline tells people what the story is about.
Next, the experts say that good Search Engine Optimization means the second part of the webpage should be a brief description.
That’s what people in the newspaper business call the “lead.”
The lead, even on the webpage, should be the most important information that also expands on the headline.
Finally, there has to be a story worth reporting.
Take a look at almost every most I-report on any of the Internet news sites.
Most of them are on-the-spot stories of coups, catastrophes and celebrations, and all with little or no detail or background. But after all, when was the last time you saw an I-report about the budget, diplomatic negotiations, medical care or any other significant part of national and international life?
Somehow, that part of the news equation always seems to be missing.
Is the newspaper dead?
Not by a long shot.
Are web-based stories the wave of the future?
Well, could be, if you just want shadow imitations of real news.
After all, the internet is just another news and information delivery system, just like newspapers.