Friday, September 16, 2005

Showing that readers matter

There is a simple way to show you respect your readers, and maybe get a few good news tips in return: Put the contact information for your newsroom staff -- by name, not just some general black-hole number -- on every page where it's relevant.

In that way the Newport News Daily Press in Virginia excels. Click to the news page, and a list of the staff comes up on the right side. Say you don't like something in a story -- or better yet, something in a story makes you go "hey, maybe they'd like to know this" -- and it's a quick click (or, heaven forbid, the site even gives you the person's phone number). Click to the sports page, and the sports staff comes up.

Many news organizations say they want to be all fuzzy-wuzzy with me as a reader, but they don't show it. They make me click through a "contact us" and then often run a search or click on a series of links to various newsroom departments. (Thankfully, more and more are getting away from the generic e-mail screen that sends a message into some newsroom in another galaxy.)

More news sites should consider following the Daily Press' example.

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