Some questions, and some answers, about online news

Lots of questions to ask in today’s Morning Coffee Grind, with the links hopefully providing some answers:

How to make newspaper web sites easier to read? Mark Potts thinks they should “knock half the links off your home page,” among other suggestions as the Online News Association conference starts today in Washington. Also: “Get everybody on your staff to mix it up with readers.” Via blogs, etc., and not the physical kind.

Alfred Hermida, a conference attendee who teaches journalism in Vancouver and formerly was with the BBC, asks out loud a question that’s been nagging him: How international is the ONA? Not very, apparently.

And of course, there will be a Twitter feed. Plus plenty of topics for comment on discussion boards.

Still want to work for a newspaper? Then try going to Switzerland, where a survey says 91.4 percent of citizens still read ’em regularly and prefer print for getting their news. Helps to know German more than French or Italian in this case.

What makes a community? Amy Gahran questions the obsession with geography at a recent Knight Commission confab: ” I suspect that defining communities by other kinds of commonalities (age, economic status/class, interests, social circles, etc.) would be far more relevant to more people — although more complex to define.

Chris O’Brien, writing off the same event, wonders how people in local communities can best get help sifting through information on the Web that they can trust. He’s worried especially for folks who aren’t digitally savvy.

A wish on Sept. 11th: That coverage of the seventh anniversary of the attacks by the press, especially here in the U.S., is more respectful than mawkish.


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