News organizations are in a constant battle for online traffic, but what actually works to draw readers? Blogs, live chats and interactive databases, according to industry leaders quoted by Editor&Publisher. Jennifer Carroll, vice president of new media for the Gannett newspaper division, told the annual Associated Press Managing Editors conference that searchable data is particularly attractive to users.
They’re not coming just to look at headlines and leave. They’re coming to search and learn through you in ways that nobody else can do.
Here’s a great example of an interactive database from the Washington Post–the DC Schools Scorecard. Slider controls let users view different schools based on how they ranked on various criteria, including test scores, crimes, and percentage of highly qualified teachers. They could also view citywide records for each type of data, or search for a particular school. The point is that data alone isn’t enough to interest most people. They need to be able to search it and sort it, so they can find information that matters to them.