Matt Thompson explains why journalists should build and refine authoritative accounts of major issues, instead of flooding news web sites with headlines. He argues that the focus on immediacy deprives readers of context they need to understand and be interested in the important issues.
For years, our assumption has been that the Web was going to require more and more news, that the way to succeed online was to generate ever more frequent updates and shovel up ever more numerous headlines, to completely saturate our users with information so they’ll keep clicking. Needless to say, this is a resource-intensive endeavor. And with all signs pointing to fewer resources for employing professional journalists, it looks like a losing one.
But these experiments are prodding us toward the notion that the real value might be found not in publishing more news on increasingly less serious matters, but in distilling the news into an ever-richer contextual record. Instead of just diverting us with trivia, the Web might transform journalism into something that doesn’t need to be decoded, but instead helps us make sense of what’s happening in our world.