Editor’s note: This is a review of a random social media news article focusing on story engagement to attract readers.
News article: Facebook Begins Testing Instant Articles from News Publishers (NY Times.com)
Engaging features? The topic is the primary draw for me as both a student and corporate communications professional. The second lure is the relevance and timeliness of the article that captures the cutting-edge social media value. The articles was also written with good attribution, background/history/, organization/sequencing, and fundamental and specific process features to inform me about something I had no prior knowledge. The lead photo (see above) of a person looking at their mobile device of the first featured test article, which happens to be on a National Geographic Bee study, test article was a good addition. Two other photos were also posted, one of Facebook’s Chief Product Officer and the other of the National Geographic’s Chief Media officer. Even though I find very little value by including these executive photos, they were at least of good quality. Photos of the team that actually developed the program and the scientists or farmers benefitting from the bee study would have been better choices.
How has the story been told? This particular article was written in the standard journalistic inverted-pyramid style with all the 5 W’s mentioned in the lead/bridge with the most informative facts upfront and progressing with less and less critical info towards the end of the article. The headline delivered exactly what I was expecting and did not build any undue expectation. Unlike the classic storytelling-style arc of beginning/set-up, problem, climax, and concluding with the solution/resolution, this news topic fits the inverted-style more effectively because it is more appropriate at an info launch to stakeholders and other interested parties. For initial announcement-type news stories, the biggest commodity is timeliness and hopefully being the first to bring a new piece of information to the public so it can reap the benefits of being cited in all follow-up stories to extend mileage.
Improvements? As previously mentions, I don’t expect a lot of bells and whistles with initial information reports but there are several reasons why this particular news article should have been more engaging. The biggest disappointment was the lack of any formidable multi-media content, especially because the NY Times is a partner in the Facebook venture and has easy access to the technology, program and a host of project originators. This would have been the perfect opportunity to make the reader’s experience more fulfilling by (at the very least) posting several video sound bites from the creators/scirntists describing how the new cutting-edge program will benefit future journalists/news organizations as well as science social media audience members. The article is of substance and a good example of constructive journalism which deemphasizes negative, destructive/crisis news (such as the recent Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia). This article is also constructive because the NY Times it’s an originator and as close to the facts as possible. The article had a clear purpose of providing an announcement on a new partnership technology. Because this is such an interesting technology process, it would behoove the NY Times to have posted a visually-rich video to show the process first-hand of the actual National Geographic featured Bee report to add to the news relevance and significance of being the first to use the new publishing program. A program like this is best to be seen and experienced instead of being told how it works.