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Headlines and Deadlines: ‘We know what they want’ – or do we?

October 2nd, 2009Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Alison Gow reflects on her own paper’s experience with two traffic-grabbing stories – only its the report on a local beauty pageant that’s outperforming an exclusive interview with the CEO of Liverpool FC in the monthly web stats.

“The phrase ‘We Know What They Want’ is a kissing cousin to ‘If It Bleeds, It Leads’; murders sell papers and a news editor is always going to put the big crime story at the top of the newslist, but… a violent death isn’t always the best story of the day, and not all readers appreciate being served up a diet of crime,” she writes.

“They tell us so, in surveys, on forums, in phone calls, comments under articles, and on blogs. We can’t risk doing the same thing online – a YouTube video of some TV singer might do wonders for hits but considered retrospectively I’d say it’s a false positive and gives a skewed view of what our core audience values.”

Full post at this link…

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  • Peter

    From pols to pundits, I am constantly amazed at the presumption of those who attempt to claim ‘they’ ‘know’ what ‘we’ ‘want’.

    I am pretty sure it is that, at best, ‘they’ hear what ‘they’ want, and will convince themselves that is why what ‘they’ choose to tell ‘us’ is as a result of sensible feedback and balanced reflection rather than ‘their’ own agendas and/or the desire to drive ratings.

    Hence, I beg to differ.

    And, from a very personal viewpoint of one that counts for about as much as most polls commissioned these days, I reckon a few others in the population have reached the same conclusion, too.

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