Friday, December 26, 2008
It's a great news strategy because it:
- Produces better coverage. Alpert & the Voice of San Diego get tipped to all sorts of interesting goings-on worth reporting on that they might not have heard of otherwise.
- Builds loyalty -- and thus increases readership. Anytime you allow someone to participate in what you're doing, you build a sense of ownership in them, and that ownership builds commitment to stick with you.
- Increases ad impressions. It's a system that requires repeat visits (once to post the question and once, at least, to get the answer). That ups the number of eyeballs hitting the site.
To make it work, however, Alpert is going to need to do the following:
- Track down as many answers as possible. Asking people to participate then not delivering on your promise is a sure way to turn off readers.
- Deliver high-quality answers. Not just perfunctory statements from spokespeople. But genuine explanations to the issues readers want answered. Nothing will turn readers off faster than getting the same boiled over statements they could have gotten themselves.
Sure, Alpert will probably get more questions than she can possibly answer. And getting high-quality answers also takes time. So how should Alpert negotiate these challenges in ways that build loyalty?
- Communicate with her readers about what she can and cannot do. Behind every reader is a reasonable human being. Human beings much prefer getting feedback, even if it's not the news they wanted, than silence. Ever been on a plane that's sitting at the gate long after its scheduled departure time? Does your blood pressure go up with every minute that passes with no news from the crew about the reason for the delay? And does it go down the minute someone explains what's going on, even if it brings bad news, like it's going to take another 45 minutes to fix whatever the problem is? Same thing with this. As long as Alpert communicates back what she can and cannot do, readers will be happy. But not giving any of the backstory will provoke discontent.
- Enlist readers to help her answer. Encourage other readers in the know to post whatever they know. At a minimum, it'll turbo-charge Alpert's own reporting, helping her focus her efforts on the places where the answers lie. At most, it might even result in the answer itself, saving Alpert from having to do any groundwork herself.
Alpert's strategy is a great example of how moving news on to the Internet is not about just throwing the same old content that appears in print form out into the ethernet -- but it's about using the specific capabilities of the new media to produce better coverage and increase readership.
Monday, December 22, 2008
-- A comment from a visitor to The Journalism Iconoclast (not a bad place to hang out, if you're interested in the future of news)
Photo courtesy of d'n'c'. Creative Commons license.
The problem with the list? All the stories are about, well, newspapers.
- Josh Marshall/Talking Points Memo's Polk Award win for tracking down the US attorneys general firings (long before the traditional media even had a clue anything was amiss, btw).
- The rise of online organizations that are taking over the local news biz. Organizations like the Voice of San Diego, the St. Louis Beacon, and MinnPost.com.
- The creation of new experiments, like spot.us, to try to discover new models for reporting and funding the news.
E&P's list reflects the fact that they continue to equate the news business with the newspaper business. It's as if horse-and-buggy people at the turn of the (last) century equated horse and buggies with transportation and refused to recognize that motor vehicle also equated transportation.
As long as the leaders in the newspaper business continue to see the newspaper as the core unit in this business -- rather than the practice of gathering and disseminating information, no matter what shape it takes -- they will remain fundamentally incapable, and thus unqualified, to help this industry find its future.
Photo courtesy of Bombardier. Creative Commons license.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
To which I reply, could we please stop using the word “blogger”?
Mostly because the term is loaded, and more importantly because it is inaccurate—if we define inaccurate as “incorrectly describing the thing being described.”
The term “blogger” is loaded because it still evokes images of dubiously informed pajama pundits pounding away at their keyboards in the middle of the night, offering little real value to the world of journalism, other, perhaps, than alternative ways of looking at news reported by others.
But as more and more serious journalism is being distributed using blog platforms, continuing to use the term does a disservice to us all. It’s not just that its somewhat dismissive connotations are quasi-disrespectful to the folks who are not “dubiously informed pajama pundits.” It’s also that using the term perpetuates the notion that most people who communicate via blogging platforms are indeed such folks when, in fact, they are not necessarily so. Perpetuating those incorrect impressions gets in the way of understanding the actual—and valuable work—that many journalists are doing online. A journalist distributing journalism online should be called a “journalist.” Only then can we all understand—and appreciate—that what they’re doing is, in fact, journalism.
If that’s not enough to convince you, how about the simple point of accuracy? The word “blog” describes a delivery mechanism, just as the terms “newspaper”, “TV”, and “radio” all describe delivery mechanisms. The term “blog” does not describe the activity performed by a person using that mechanism. Just as someone who appears on TV may do so in any number of contexts—actor, talk show host, reporter—a person who uses a blog to communicate to the world may be performing any number of activities—opinionating, traveloguing, reporting. So to use the word “blogger” to refer to someone who uses blogging technology is as inaccurate—and potentially ridiculous, if you actually think about it—as it would be to refer to someone who communicates via TV as a “TVer”.
So here’s my plea. Starting in 2009, could we retire the word “blogger” and, instead, simply label people using blogs according to the specific work they are doing? Call a journalist a journalist, a pundit a pundit, and people who do both (like Marshall) "a journalist and pundit."
Photo courtesy of procsilas. Creative Commons license.
Friday, December 12, 2008
"If the automakers' difficulties can be traced to a single, essential failure, it is their belief that they could avoid change."
-- Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker, Dec. 8, 2008
There's been a lot of ire in the journalism world about Jeff Jarvis blaming journalists for their current fate. But I have to agree with him. Newspapers' difficulties today can be chalked up to the same essential failure as the carmakers': The belief they could avoid change.The difference, mainstream journalists will argue, is that journalism was producing a quality product. Unlike Detroit, which kept producing gas guzzlers when the tide was turning toward more fuel efficient vehicles, the mainstream media kept producing important, democracy-foundational journalism.
I will argue that the difference is not so great.
Both have continued to produce products that customers increasingly don't want. In journalism's case, the mainstream media may continue to be producing "important news," but it's not in the form readers want. The same way Detroit continues to produce "transportation," but not in the form drivers want. So this is the point: It doesn't matter how "valuable" your product is. If your customers don't want it, your future is limited. To survive, you have to evolve.
This is how the traditional media failed. They believed they didn't have to change, because their product was so valuable. They were wrong. The world does need what they produce. But we need it in the form in which we'll consume it.
Photo courtesy of Ikhlasul Amal. Creative Commons license.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
For example, on Nov. 5, the day after the historic presidential election, the NY Times posted only a handful of photographs from the previous day—when they very well could have posted a slew.
I remember noticing that as well. I’d been in Oakland on election night. The next day I went looking for photographs of celebrations around the country. I wanted to see if they had been as wild as Oakland’s. (In fact, as I soon learned, many were much more wild.) I remember subconsciously being surprised at how few pictures the NY Times had up on its site. If ever there were a day to just throw out pictures galore, this was it.
This is the scarcity mindset. When you only have a certain number of physical newspaper pages, there are only a certain amount of photographs you can publish. So you get in the habit of choosing only the best and running with those.
But on the Web, bandwidth is limitless. So not only can you post a gazillion photos, should you choose to do so, but—and this is important—your readers actually expect you to—just as I expected the NY Times to.
Moving into the abundance mindset, and posting as much content as possible,* will help ensure the future of news organizations for two reasons.
-- It generates revenue. Think about how many more ad impressions the NY Times would have gotten from me—and people like me, hungry for images from that transformational day—had they posted a slew of photographs.
-- It allows you to meet your readers' expectations. Not making more content available, on the other hand, violates expectations, and that’s a very bad thing to do. It irritates people, decreases their loyalty, and reduces the chance they’ll keep coming back.
* A quick note on what I mean by “more” content. I don’t mean more stories necessarily. That’s unsustainable in these days of slashed staffs. “More” content doesn’t have to be about creating a lot of new work. Rather, it’s about using as much as possible of what you already have—photographs, interview transcripts, even interview audio turned into podcasts, plus all those little observations, behind-the-scenes happenings, and little nuggets that would never make it into a formal “story”, much less merit a story of their own, but that nevertheless could conceivably be of interest to someone, and therefore is worth throwing up on the Web as a standalone item.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
One of the links listed under the Obama story in the image above takes you to a blog called Slog. That's cool. But who's "Slog"? If you told me the link to that site had been hand-curated, I'd have confidence it was worth my time. So would I if you told me it came from a bot built to find the best items out there. But right now, I'm wondering whether that list is randomly generated. If so, that's bad news. Not only would the list not necessarily be helpful, it could actually send me to a bunch of time-wasting stories. In that case, the value of the list would plummets and the Times would lose my trust as a reliable source of good information. Lose my trust, and you lose my loyalty.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Here’s what I love about it, as reflected in a tweet on Dec 3:
@sashak and @myoung Thanks for the welcome. I'm trying to avoid going extinct. Help teach me how to do this....--ndk
Kristof has no idea what he’s doing… and yet he’s trying it anyway. That’s the kind of mindset we need in the news business: Just try it and figure it out as you go.
Here’s the second thing I like about it: “Help teach me how to do this.”
Gone is the traditional journalistic “we know best” arrogance. (Not that I’m accusing Kristof of being arrogant. I've never met the guy, but he actually seems like one of the most down-to-earth journos out there.) In place of that distance-creating arrogance are:
a) The admission that he’s ignorant (or, put another way, a beginner),
b) A recognition that the folks out there can probably help us journos find our way to the future, and
c) A willingness to help them help us.
All of these are incredibly valuable mindsets for finding our way forward. Kristof's courageous dive into something he doesn't quite understand--but realizes might hold a key to the future--is a model to emulate.
Hmmm…. Talk about thinking "inside the box."
Bushie didn’t talk at all about possibly rethinking the paper—either the Chron itself or the idea of a newspaper in general. He apparently assumes that the Chron—or newspapers in general—should continue to provide the exact same product that they offer today (ie: the combined international/national/local/sports/business/home/life/entertainment package that they offer today). There was no: “Let’s go back to the drawing board and see where our competitive advantages lie and figure out what value we can deliver to our customers and then come up with a bunch of potential alternative incarnations that we’d be able to knock out of the ballpark and support financially.”
Instead, Bushie spoke about potentially jacking up the price of the paper, which is 75 cents today. And what was his rationale for thinking this was a reasonable idea? Most cups of coffee are about $2, he said. And the New York Times already costs $1.50. (At least it does if you’re in California. Maybe not on the streets of NYC.)
Such faulty thinking is flabbergasting. A thing isn’t worth more, just because other things are worth more. A thing is worth what your customer thinks it’s worth--what they’re willing to pay for it. Given the plummeting readership in newspapers in general, I sincerely doubt that the average San Franciscan would be willing to pay more for something they are increasingly less interested in.
The other revelation that further called into doubt Bushie's ability to lead the Chron into the future was that he repeatedly spoke about how much the paper been talking to “their readers” to find out what “their readers” want. But these, in fact, are the wrong people to be talking to. In order to survive, newspapers need to enlarge their customer base. Newspapers like the Chron should be talking to people who don’t already read (and buy) the newspaper. They should be trying to figure out how to convert those people from non-customers into customers. Normally, I fully support talking to and designing for your customers. But not when your existing customers don’t form a sufficient base.
In short, Bushie’s mindset seems to be this:
“The Chron is a great paper. We should figure out how to continue to support it, in its current incarnation, though maybe with a few tweaks.”
But to survive—or rather, to grow into a thriving news entity—a newspaper’s mindset today needs to be:
“What sorts of news are the citizens of our community interested in? What portions of those can we be really good at delivering? And how can we deliver them in a way that the members of our community will consume them?”
The full interview (available for download) is here.
Image courtesy of AlbySpace. Creative Commons license.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
- Act like an entrepreneur; stop thinking first about why a new approach won't work.
I talked about the value of experimentation and not waiting until something is fully baked--even at the risk of failure--in this post about how to think like a designer and this post about two newspapers' different approaches to using Twitter.
- Create a portfolio of initiatives; recognize that some will fail and kill those quickly.
"If I were a newspaper publisher today" talks about the need to create just such a portfolio.
- Don't wait for every data point before taking action. "Ready, fire, aim" should be the operating principle.
In "How to think about the new WaPo political aggregation site," I noted how polished the new "Political Browser" site was and indicated that that was a red flag for me. A polished design could indicate that someone thinks they've figured it out when, really, we all need to be in "throw it up against the wall and see what sticks mode."
- Use downsizing as a tool when necessary to achieve a larger strategy, not simply as a cost-cutting goal.
I haven't really talked about this, but I totally agree. Downsizing without restrategizing just doesn't make any sense. If you're going to downsize, if you're going to leave yourself with fewer staff than you need to deliver a quality product, you need to rethink your product and come up with one that you can deliver with quality, given the amount of people you have.
- Figure out how to leverage core competencies into new directions and new niches.
In "The end of news *as we know it*", I talked about how the demise of newspapers doesn't mean the demise of news. News will continue, but in new forms. The mission of people in the news business today needs to be to find those forms.
- Be honest with employees, and get ideas from those on the front lines.
See my "How about Googling up?" post for ideas on how to leverage Google's "20% project" idea to get great ideas from the front lines.
- Don't sit and cower and weep about your problems. Inspire.
In "Who, exactly, is the problem?" I talked about the need to put the recriminations aside and dive in and try to find the future.
- Collaborate with outside entities that can bring expertise or resources.
Yup, agreed with that in "Getting ahead--and producing better journalism--by letting others help us." Also talked about how Dan Rather might have avoided getting fired, if he'd brought in the wisdom of the crowds before he put the Bush/National Guard memo story out into the world.
- Pay attention to, and leverage, the brand.
I haven't addressed this, but I agree that, in the future, brand will be an important competitive advantage.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Whoever said that has to be off their rocker, no?
Well, not exactly. David Cohn is an ambitious twenty-something journalist who's been hacking his way toward the future of news future. He's currently leading spot.us, a massive experiment in seeing if crowdfunding* can be used as a model to fund journalism. Previously, he teamed up with new media thought leader (& NYU J-School prof) Jay Rosen on New Assignment.Net, another project to explore potential new models for journalism. And before that, for those looking for traditional journalism cred, he wrote for Wired, SEED, and, yes, even the New York Times.
In a post on his DigiDave blog today, Cohn wrote that the reason he's feeling so bullish is because of the massive number of experiments going on, right now, to invent the future of news. (See his post for some examples.) "The answers are out there," he wrote, "in every startup (journalism focused or otherwise), community, blog, micro-blogging, micro-financing and CMS on the web."
How does that work, you ask? What does it mean that "the answers are out there in every startup?"
This is standard innovation practice. This is how Silicon Valley works. Thousands of players dive in, all with good ideas about how to make a particular industry work. They put their ideas in play, and, out there, in the market, and over time, the ones with legs emerge. But the ones that don't ultimately succeed also contribute. Because others learn from their experiments. They learn what works and what doesn't. They get new ideas for something new to try."What we need right now is 10,000 journalism startups," Cohn wrote. "Of these 9,000 will fail, 1,000 will find ways to sustain themselves for a brief period of time, 98 will find mediocre success and financial security and two will come out as new media equivalents to the New York Times."
I agree. This, simply, is how we are going to find the future. And we will find it. Through experimentation and trial & error. Eventually we will find the future. It will look nothing like what we know journalism to be (which is why those startups Cohn mentions can seem so baffling to traditional journalists). But we will get there.
* DEFN: "Crowdfunding": Getting the public to pay for your project.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
What's "future of news"-y about it:
-- It's fun. The news doesn't have to be serious. Yes, choosing cabinet secretaries is serious business. And most of the players appear to be making serious choices. (Daffy Duck has yet to make it into the rankings.) But anything a reader can play with is fun. And fun is good--for building brand loyalty and generating return visits.
-- It's putting control in readers' hands. It moves away from the old school "we tell, you listen" mindset and invites readers to participate.
What's "old school" about it:
-- It doesn't go far enough. Why aren't they taking a Fantasy Football approach to this? Why don't they let people create individual accounts, so they can "own" their teams? Why don't they let people debate the pro's and con's of each candidate? Just imagine the discussion it would generate. That's a huge missed opportunity to score return visits -- and multiple ad impressions.
Good on the New York Times for going beyond the text-only mindset. But come on guys. Let go completely. Put it in the readers' hands and let them go wild.
What's "future of news"-y about it:
-- It's breaking away from the newspaper-y "mental model" of news--everything thrown into the same package. Instead, the editors are thinking about their readers and what their readers want. Is there appetite for Obama news alone? Great, they clearly said, let's create a "product" that delivers just that.
-- The "President Elect's Calendar" feature (right). Sure, it might feel like it's not telling us much (yesterday just had four items: Obama goes to gym, Obama arrives at office, Obama goes to Vets Day memorial, Podesta briefs reporters), but that's OK. It's breaking out of the "everything as text" mindset of traditional journalism. And that's a good thing.
What's "old school" about it:
-- It's lifeless. There's no party going on there. Just a bunch of stuff the Politico staff has thrown up there. No interaction. Nothing dynamic. Nothing in a crowdsourcing direction.
-- When you click through to a story, you lose your location -- you're thrown back into Politico regular. Sure, that might be a good way to drive traffic to Politico. But it won't last. People come to destinations because they want to feel like they're somewhere. Something that's just a wrapping paper over the old stuff won't build loyalty.
Good on Politico for giving this a shot. But like all v1's, it's going to need a few more iterations, many probably, before it finds its groove.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
What I've learned in life and business: the people that care most always win. I've been on both sides. If you're most passionate, you'll win.
The wisdom seemed apropos to the news business.
I've talked before about how news organizations have to put their futures in the hands of staffers who are most passionate about the places news creation and delivery are going. Not the most senior staff. Not the ones with the greatest experience or most impressive accomplishments according to the traditional, paper-news metrics. But the people who are really jazzed about how we'll be able to generate and deliver news in the brave new digital world. Not only because they are more likely to win, as the quote above says. But also because only they will have the drive to keep on through the tough slog that awaits this business.
Photo courtesy of ms4jah. Creative Commons license.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
It's an old saying in the tech world. But it reflects the mindset that has enabled Silicon Valley to produce the likes of Apple, eBay, PayPal, and Google. This mindset says: "There's no such thing as failure. There's only version 1.0. And then version 2.0. And then 3.0."
Things aren't expected to work great -- or even work -- the first time around. But that's OK. Things not working right the first time around doesn't constitute failure. It constitutes a necessary step on the way to figuring out what does work.
It's a mindset news organizations simply need to adopt. They need to move away from "We don't release it to the world until it's fully baked" to "Let's throw it up against the wall and see what sticks."
So let's say it again: "If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0." (And then go back to the drawing board to start working on version 2.0.)
Photo courtesy of eyesplash Mikul. Creative Commons license.
Monday, September 29, 2008
So here's how it works: The Post scours the Web for great political stuff and posts its favorites on their site. And then various members of their political team weigh in and comment on that other stuff.
Say what, again? You mean, all that stuff that the traditional media has been railing against, the Post is now doing? Yeah.
So how should folks in the traditional media think about this?
Here's what I like about it:
- The Post is experimenting.
And you all know how I feel about experimenting. Anything that might help us figure out the future of news is a good thing.
- The Post has turned around and embraced a practice that for so long was discredited and derided among the traditional media.
This is a good sign. It means the leadership there is breaking out of the inside-the-box thinking that will sink any enterprise that is trying to adapt to new conditions.
Here are some things the Post should consider, as they move forward:
- Is the person who's leading the effort wildly passionate about new media, and do they have a near-maniacal vision about how they want to execute the project?
The site won't work if the folks at the Post are merely copying what's being done elsewhere. If the conversation behind the site went something like this, "Hey, look at those other aggregation sites. They seem to have some legs. Hey, you, random person over in the corner, tag you're it. Take this on and figure out how to make it work." If that was the conversation, then the site is doomed to fail.
The Huffington Post and Real Clear Politics and all the other (successful) aggregation sites work because they have a driving vision about what they want to do and especially about the kind of content they want to post. The selection process becomes a voice, if you will, and it's the voice that builds audience loyalty.
Here's an analogy. Let's say you want to open a sporting goods store. One of the things that will drive your success is if you have a vision of the kind of sporting goods you want to sell and the "personality" you want your store to have. A store that has no selection criteria, that just kind of takes whatever, will never have the success of, say, a lululemon, the wildly successful yoga apparel retail chain that builds devoted followers because it does, in fact, have a personality that buyers identify with and want to be part of.
So to succeed, to build a devoted audience, The Political Browser is going to have to have a personality. And the personality is only going to come from someone with a driving vision of what they want it to be about.
- The visionary who drives The Political Browser must be given complete latitude to execute how they see fit.
This won't work if there's some committee looking over their shoulder, questioning various decisions or getting jittery and asking them to pull back. The project needs to have the latitude to try all sorts of different things. And yes, many of those things will be duds. And some of them might even end up embarrassing the Post. But this is par for the course, and there is no way but through. The Post are like newbies at soccer right now. You got to give them time to learn the game. And any time you're learning a new game, you fumble a lot more than you score.
- The site is much too purty.
That's good right? No, it's bad. A site that looks as polished as The Political Browser means one of two things: The creators think they've figured out the formula (when they really should be in "throw it up against the wall mode," or they are placing an undue emphasis on design (when it really needs to be about the content). Take a look at Huffington Post or RealClearPolitics. They've been around for years, and they still look like were designed by somebody's brother-in-law on his day off.
- Talk about revenues.
The site's executive editor, Jim Brady, told Editor and Publisher that he hopes the site will become political junkies' first-stop shop for political news from around the Web--and generate revenue via ads.
There's nothing wrong with trying to drive revenue, of course. That is the name of the game: How to find ways to drive traffic that will generate revenue. I just hope that the Post will give The Political Browser a little time and not immediately evaluate it based on revenue earned. No site whose primary goal was "generate revenue" ever succeeded in building a loyal audience. The first goal has to be to create a great site full of great stuff that people become addicted to. Then worry about the money.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Sometimes I feel like the lone cranky voice out here, the party pooper at the journalism party, because I refuse to blame "rapacious" businessmen or cultural superficiality for the demise of the news business but instead lay the blame at the feet of reporters themselves. But now, it turns out I'm not alone.
Respected media commentator and Internet strategist Jeff Jarvis, he of BuzzMachine (#520 on Technorati's list of the top blogs -- not too shabby, given that there's only, like, a jillion blogs out there), declared last week that "Zell is not your problem. You are."
The post was written in response to a suit filed by a group of current and former LA Times staffers against Sam Zell, accusing him of "recklessness in the takeover and management" of the paper.
The Times veterans should not be suing Zell, Jarvis declared. They should be suing themselves.
The rap sheet included the following crimes:
"When the paper was the most overwritten, under-edited consumer of wasted ink and paper in the United States of America, boring its audience with jump after jump of self-indulgent text and forcing readers to flee for TV, did you get out your pencils and start trimming and tightening? No."
"When the internet came, did you all - every one of you as responsible, smart journalists, on your own - leap to get training in audio and video? Did you immediately hatch new ways to work collaboratively with the vast public of bloggers able and willing to join in local journalism? Not that I saw."
Not to toot my own horn, but what the hey, this is exactly what I wrote about last month in "Who, in fact, is the problem?"
At the time, I quoted Newark's mayor paraphrasing MLK in saying that, "The problems of today are not the vitriolic words and the evil actions of the bad people, but the appalling silence and inaction of the good people."
My point was that, in challenging times, the average person can't sit around and point fingers. The average person has to get off their duff and be part of the solution.
And, as someone who's felt like that lone cranky voice, it's enormously exciting to hear others making this point. I genuinely believe that the only way we'll be able to find the way forward is if every single person working in this business accepts that the old days are gone, faces the reality of our new environment, and dedicates themselves to exploring new--and effective--ways of doing what has always been the so very important mission of the news business: informing our communities about what's going on in them.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Let's take the local football game, for example. Reading the tweets will probably only whet a reader's appetite for more, especially if it was a particularly dramatic game. So invite them (via tweets with links) to come on over to the website and watch clips of the best plays. Or read in-depth analyses of what went right (or wrong). And I should note this isn't a completely original -- or unproven -- idea. As I wrote about in a previous post, the NBA had been using a similar offering to drive traffic to their website.
Similarly, live-tweeting a mayor's arraignment just drives appetite for all the Web-based goodies related to that story. After you're done with the play-by-play, shoot over a few tweets describing the related video clips, podcasts, blog posts, photos, etc... available on your website. Junkies will click on through.
One more note: To do this successfully, newspapers are going to have to set up tweets differently than they do now. Most of the ones that are tweeting offer a single tweet channel that includes everything from the latest crime news, to football player trades, to city council goings on. Again, this is an implementation by someone who thought Twitter was the same as RSS.
Instead, smart news organizations will set up seperate Twitter channels for separate types of news or events. There would have to be some kind of mechanism for letting readers know what kind of channels were coming up (eg: "Sign up for tomorrow's tweets on the Kilpatrick arraignment" or "Follow the Cougars-Buccaneers game on Twitter on Thursday"). But the point is: People will want to follow discrete events, rather than getting ongoing grab bags of everything, so this is something news organizations will have to figure out how to set up.