“Implicature is far more binary online”
Wonderful description from Lloyd – employing a whole new set of terminology – of the eternal problem where content goes online and is accessible in ways that bypass the context provided by the source (print) vehicle. Because it’s not possible to access a specific piece of content directly and uniquely in a medium such a newspaper, any reasonably sophisticated newspaper reader cannot avoid aborbing some information about the environment of a piece of content. This contextual information will inform their understanding of that content itself. Attitude, signposting, weighting, diversity of opinion, seriousness, tone, and linguistic convention are not conveyed too richly by your average RSS reader.
Content online can of course provide a huge degree of context, but it is predominantly external context (how the piece relates to the rest of the world) rather than internal (how the piece relates to the rest of the content provider’s output). Which brings me back to my favourite subject: footnotes. There is a connection here: to what extent should a piece stand up by itself? To what extent do you risk upsetting its readability by trying to explain its relationship to other content, and/or the meaning of terminology used therein? We can’t spend all our time saying “we’re only saying this because such-and-such” lest everything end up like the 400-word “trial continues” article I so despise. So, to deliver the context of a terse update/a controversial opinion piece/etc we perhaps need to establish some conventions for accompanying each piece with some contextual/explanatory material: be it bibliography, lexicon, chronological trail, or even “balance”. The challenge is how to make this part of the piece but without overwhelming it. Inline links don’t cut it on their own.
More articles about the media
All content tagged ‘media’
Keyloom journalistic/editorial services