Thursday, August 14, 2008

Writing online - what radio and TV teaches us

More so in radio than TV, presenters have a penchant for back announcing.

You've just walked into the room, become mesmerized with a report and even the reporter, then lo and behold, the presenter combs over some of the lost info.

TV stations, particularly reality programmes back anno as a matter of recapping what's gone on so far.

Again you land within the middle section of a programme and within a couple of minutes you're filled in.

The equivalent online is landing on page 2 of a 3 page item because of the tags and not making heads or tails of the report.

Thus you skip off somewhere else. Lost opportunity.

Writing online therefore could do with its own back anno.

Well you could go to page 1 of the article as well, or otherwise keep the article short to a page, but not every one's a tabloid hack able to condense ten words into one.

Writing news employs the inverted triangle principle. Relevant info at the top which becomes less important down the article.

Subs with a swift pen or key stroke in a hurry start looking to cut back that over run article from the bottom.

Yep there we go.... and another one.

If it's a longish article it simply bleeds across other pages. But there is a problem here in truncating the inverted pyramid ( fig 2).

If a "cash rich- time" poor reader lands on the page they've no anchors to help understand the piece.

So it got me thinking, yep there's a novelty.

What if each page almost back anno'd the previous.

Each page could there fore be self contained ( almost) - a miniature triangle in itself.

The benefits are for those landing on the page, but also in using key link words to indent each page.

Of course it means a different, somewhat tautological style of writing, because in print whilst we're taught to write seamlessly, here you're having to tease relevant info from the previous page to build the next.

Right, where's that whisky flask?

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