Our ICE desk editors have been busy this semester creating original aggregated content at the levels of public service and storytelling for the Missourian’s website.
This work fits well with the role and skills of our interactive copy editors. They are knowledgeable about the reported stories on our website. They are curious and can find compelling material on other news sites and elsewhere online.
This work also could fit well on most newspaper copy desks. Copy editors are skilled at distilling information into concise text. A good copy editor can tell a story in a short headline, summary or caption. For print publications, we’ve turned to copy editors to compile packages of news briefs and features such as celebrity columns. For the Web, we can turn to copy editors to create content that can be much more valuable for readers.
At the Missourian, we publish in print five days a week, but our interactive copy editing desk is staffed to update our website seven days a week. Sunday is an online-only production day — and it can be a relatively slow news day. Our interactive copy editors are using that time to create fresh content that has been popular with Sunday evening and Monday morning readers.
At its best use, aggregated content complements the strengths of a news site. At the San Jose Mercury News, for example, the Good Morning Silicon Valley blog and 60-Second Business Break newsletter add to the newsroom staff’s excellent coverage of Apple, Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley technology companies.
At the Missourian, by far the most popular topic among our readers is Missouri football. The ICE desk has created a regular The Week in Missouri Football feature that aggregates content from our talented staff football writers and commentary from other websites. Our Sunday editors alternate as the writer of this feature. However, they have developed a unique voice for The Week in Missouri Football and a common format — a summary of Saturday’s game, with commentary on the team’s strengths and weaknesses, followed by updates on other football-related news (so far, that has been mostly conference realignment developments) and a look ahead to Missouri’s next game.
Other Sunday features also emphasize the week in review. The desk has created a The Week’s Most-Read Stories feature, with summaries of the 10 most-read stories posted the week before on ColumbiaMissourian.com. We also edit the community outreach team’s The Week in Comments (which includes the week’s best posts from our loyal commenters) and build The Week in Photos gallery. (The Week in Photos, by the way, is not just an opportunity to showcase our photographers’ best work. We also can summarize and link back to the photo galleries and stories where that work first appeared.)
Sunday is not the only day the ICE desk builds such content. Throughout the week, our editors create aggregated stories that guide readers to current news events. As examples, ICE desk editors wrote a guide to the Missourian’s coverage of the debate about transit service in Columbia and collected some of the best journalism in the aftermath of 9/11 and on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. I’ll have more details in a future post.