Helping universities deal with the change in news: Timelines

News has changed a lot over the years, from being printed in newspapers and magazines, through video on the television and now people look online first. All of these mediums are very different but all have something in common. News has three states: Something that is happening, has happened and will happen. But the problem with most news sites is that they only ever consider the state of when it is happening. Weeks after, the story is lost — even if it is still important.
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Snapchat stories

SMILE recognised this and is helping universities to cope with this change. We’ve come up with the idea of wrapping multiple articles up together. A riff on “stories” from social media networks and apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook — they even have something similar on the BBC website! But ours is a little different.

Today’s generation are more likely to read about a breaking story from a general public via social media, rather than an authority. Universities need to get on board with this — and this helps your news team because it delegates work and at the same time increases the quality of the story.

We call this “Timelines” and it solves all the problems we’ve outlined above. With Timelines, you can create a collection of articles and tweets to create multi-point stories. Timelines helps to give news a sense of permanence. News should be integrated so that it’s more relevant and gives users a good exit point and keeping them engaged (related everywhere!)

The advantage being that you can add a new piece to the story at any time, and it will be found in one thread. This makes reading the stories easier because you don’t have to hunt down the old parts to it. The downside? Make sure you keep your story up to date!

Universities have a huge wealth of news and content, but currently its undersold and misused. Timelines give university content a viable platform to be seen on a longer-term basis in a format that is actually usable for the reader. Timelines are available now for all SMILE customers and if you want to know more, contact us today.

Nathan Monk
Nathan Monk

I'm proud to work for some of the world’s most influential brands that shape cities and define lives: Universities and colleges.

I provide advice to forward-thinking senior leaders on how to exceed their organisational targets by creating user-focused, digital-first strategies.