The Convergence Point

Because Story is independent of medium

The Divorced Content Model

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News organizations craft one stream of news content. The Gloucester Times produces the Gloucester Times, the Salem News produces the Salem News. Redundant? Not quite.

Those organizations have an original content flow. They’re generally producing news, opinion, video, etc. that no one else produces. But that “content stream” looks a bit like a telephone wire. It’s one cable, encasing a bundle of individual wires. The Gloucester Times content flow provides readers with Cape Ann News, Fishing Industry News, Community Calendar information, Opinion articles, Arts and Life features …

You get the idea.

The only problem is, that flow’s ending up on two different platforms. When I helped run Gordon College’s Student Newspaper, The Tartan, we dumped our print edition on the corner of irrelevance and switched to an on-line only model through wordpress.

It didn’t work.

Internet-savvy college students declined to read the edition on-line, simply because they couldn’t just pick it up and mull over it. So, we designed a model to solve the problem. Full disclosure, it never got off the ground in the academic world.

We called it our Divorced Content Model.

We designed the model to keep what information best belonged on what platform, based on how people use the two media we worked with. The Internet and print, through both venues of generally text-based information, stem from different desires, and ways of thinking.

People access the internet for hourly updates and minute by minute information. It’s a constantly accessed medium, and for it to serve an audience well, it needs to be a “news you can use” medium. It also allows for inventive photography and videography, that print, by the virtue of being print, doesn’t allow.

But, when we read articles on the internet, we don’t like reading work that runs long, or that makes us do the awkward motion of scrolling down a screen.  So, articles can’t hit in-depth. I’ve seen one exception to this. The GDT’s fishing coverage tends to run on the long side, but it’s read so widely, it can’t be taken off the web-site.

Print gives us the chance to mull things over. It’s a medium that demands some of our time in the morning, afternoon or evening, depending on when you read. Printed word requires some thought, and doesn’t really serve well as a “news you can use” type of medium.

The Divorced content model divided content with the razor of ideal. It took the “news you can use”,  – breaking news, community calendars, traffic updates, game-night sports coverage, Associated Press coverage, etc. and relegated it to the realm of the digital.

It took long-form, front page news, long arts + life or business pieces, and feature stories and placed them in a weekly or daily newspaper. Where literary work operates best.

The DCM keeps readers reading both parts of a paper, engaging with both media, and cuts down on online clutter and printing cost.

News media organizations produce their own content stream, and funnel it through both portals. What’s on the web mimics what’s on the paper, just with flashier, more annoying, ads, and a less beautiful layout.

We need to separate our stream, and put what content up on what medium it works the best on. More on that tomorrow, where I’ll present a “divorced content” model for a news-website and news-paper.


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