Mathew Ingram posted a provocative tweet: “Everyone says Tiger isn’t news, but our stories get hundreds of thousands of views and our live discussion got 1,350 participants in an hour.”
By implication Mathew is saying that because his readers are discussing it and reading the story, that means it’s worth covering. I’m not going to argue with that. I think you have to pay attention to what your users like, and try to give it to them. That’s one of the basic principles in my area of expertise, software development, and it seems reasonable it should be part of news as well.
In a recent RBTN podcast Jay talked about a spot.us project to dig into the rebuilding of the Bay Bridge. In the process, the reporter will certainly look into how power and money flow in two City Halls (San Francisco and Oakland) and in the state capital in Sacramento. Investigative journalism like that usually doesn’t attract the kind of following that a Tiger Woods sex scandal might, except for the fact that the Bay Bridge is such a Bay Area bottleneck, and so important in everyone’s lives that a scandal concerning the bridge likely would find an interested audience.
This idea came up in the last RBTN. I was talking about the excellent Frontline report on how credit and debit cards work. Most people will never see the report, but there’s a few key bits of info that, it seems, somehow everyone should understand because it’s about money coming out of their accounts, a subject almost everyone would be interested in, I suppose, if they knew it was available to them.