I’ve written before about how most media folk don’t understand how properly to use text alerts, with CNN as a case-in-point.
Here’s a checklist for breaking news alerts. Fail one and hold your fire:
- Is it really timely?
- Does it matter greatly to more than 70% of the audience?
- Is it going to be new information for most readers?
- Is it not stupid celebrity news?
- Did someone important die, get convicted, or resign abruptly?
- Will your users feel cheated that they didn’t get the alert when they see it elsewhere in ten minutes?
In other words, if we’re going to say “duhh” when we read it, either because of prior knowledge or lack of interest, skip it.
Fewer shots, more hits, more impact.