I will soon be helping to run #Interhacktives, a website for students on City University’s Interactive Journalism MA to share their experiences as they learn about digital journalism.
Journalism, like any industry, should consider the people it serves: its readers. Otherwise, in the digital age, the readers will go elsewhere.
So: who will use the Interhacktives site?
Profile of an Interhacktives user
Well, you might think it is most likely to be someone interested in the field of digital journalism.
The problem is: this might limit our audience somewhat. After all, how many people are interested in digital journalism? And what proportion of those would be we able to attract?
Therefore, we need to aim more broadly. As UsvsTh3m has shown, simple, topical news games can go viral – but these require technical skills currently beyond us.
But two things we can do are infographics and data visualisations.
Not only will producing these allow us to develop our digital skills, but they are also popular beyond the narrow realm of digital journalism. People are interested in pictures. And pictures that give them information more succinctly than any prose could?
This is how we can meet the key journalistic aim of adding value for our readers.
HOW TO REACH PEOPLE
With fifteen or so of us running Interhacktives, it might seem easy for us to reach a large audience – we just each tweet every article, and our followers all click through.
Twitter has notoriously low click-through rates. Although it has its uses, it should not be the only way to promote material.
Other possible methods include:
- Posting on Facebook – which has relatively high click-through rates, but remains a generally non-public space;
- Linking on our own blogs;
- Connecting with journalists with large followings who can then promote our work to their followers;
- Connecting with the relevant community for a certain article; and
- SEO (search engine optimisation).
Although promotion is very important, though, content is king. And that is our main challenge.