Will Success On-Line Be Linked To Success In Print?
Don't get me wrong; I enjoy podcasts, audio streams, and the occasional video. I just find that print is the most efficient way to get information from the web.
It's much faster to get the headlines or capture the essence of a story through print than any other means. On my reasonably fast computer it takes about 10-seconds to get audio after clicking on the hourly newscast link at NPR.org. At Google News, I can scan 8-10 headlines in that first 10-seconds.
During a recent test of this theory, I heard exactly one story after listening to the NPR newscast for 1-minute, 15-seconds. On Google News, I read 4 stories in the same amount of time. A nice feature of Google News is that you can quickly scan and select from dozens of news sources covering the same story. Want a Louisiana perspective on the Katrina anniversary? Easy to find.
This isn't a criticism of radio. Far from it. But it is a good reminder of how people use the web. They click, they scan, they click and scan some more.
For public radio to get the most out of its web presence, it’s probably going to have to be as good or better at using the printed word than everyone else.