LATimes.com managing editor Jimmy Orr gave an interesting interview over the weekend to Journalism.co.uk about the paper’s recent boom in web traffic. A lot of the piece was spent crediting SEO with the Times‘ recent numbers. Which makes us sad for some reason. We were hoping the secret had to do with great journalism or an increase in web content. But that’s not what we want to talk about. The interesting part of the piece was where Orr said that virtually any headline published in the LA Times these days gets rewritten four to five times. There’s the paper headline, the online HTML version, which may also be adapted for SEO, and the Twitter and Facebook versions.
“The one for Twitter can be much more engaging,” explains Orr. “The Twitter headline can be much more fun, much more dramatic, much more inquisitive. We often look to see if there is a hashtag for a discussion and include that.”
Funny how much the new new new journalism has to do with marketing stories. This is also sad, but from a business standpoint in the new media world, it makes more sense for a newspaper to hire someone to tweak headlines than does to have someone like Sy Hersh on board writing exposes.