I urge my journalism students to think about their readers when they write––to make sure their stories are engaging from the first word and to think about what their readers already know, what they want to know, and what they need to know.
After they finish writing and we’re laying out the print edition of the paper, we think constantly about the reader’s experience on the page and how we can make it better. We think about how the person skimming through the paper will experience it and how we can get them to stop and read. We make sure that the story is not just readable, but that it appears to be readable. Then we realized this year that we were doing a poor job of paying attention to our readers’ experiences when they read stories on our website.