Pause for thought for bloggers and journalists alike

From today’s Poynter Institute email:

Conventional wisdom states that news sites must update to attract readers. Well, quite the opposite happened on Norway’s site Bergens Tidendes (bt.no) this week.

Instead of giving heavy coverage to the recent Scandinavian Big Brother finale (in Swedish), bt.no decided that an ultra-short and to-the-point article (in Norwegian) would suffice — adding that they probably would not be updating.

It was an obvious attempt to distance the site from a TV concept seen by many as vulgar and lowbrow.

The whole article reads: “Jessica won Big Brother. Jessica is 21 years old and comes from Kalmar. The first prize is one million Kroner. Bt.no probably won’t come back with more.”

In a world gone reality crazy, the article was a little reminder of what’s news and what’s not, so it became something of a phenomenon in Norway this week. After having been e-mailed between friends and referred in other media, it attracted 25.000 readers during Tuesday, according to NA24 Propaganda (Norwegian). That kind of readership is usually reserved for much bigger stories and happenings on Bergens Tidendes.

Says Bergens Tidendes news editor Anne Gjerde: “We have never had so many readers for such a short article.”

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