the scarce resource in the information age isn’t information it’s attention.
such is the operating principle of attention economics, an emerging field of study that may provide some of the scaffolding needed for creating journalism online in the digital age.
most news web sites are dumping grounds for “extra” pics or audio or facts that would never have made it on the radio or into the paper (where the scarcity of space demands focus from editors and reporters) but which the web folks thought someone might be interested in rummaging through.
that’s great for those who have the time and interest to piece the extras into the whole. and then there’s the long tail implications: post something online and google will ensure that people find it for years to come. but for the rest of us, the majority of us, who go to news sites to help us make sense of the world all that extra stuff makes it harder to discern signal from noise.
once we attempt to truly understand and appreciate the limits of our audience’s attention, only then will we serve up journalism online that helps people focus and make sense instead of feel scattered and spread thin.