The first five lines

Nowadays, there’s more thirst for reading than ever before, but the patterns of schedule and manners for this consumption have drastically changed.

The so-called “long reading”, which characterized the era on which the newspapers controlled the monopoly of information, has transmigrated into a culture of the brief and instantaneous.

The studies that usually monitor the behavior of readers have aided to find many interesting clues about how to “hook” users to the informative platforms, both printed and digital counterparts.

On the newspapers, the real weak spot for readers is all the photography, then the headlines of the news, which are not recommended to use more than five lines of text to summarize the corresponding event (this is the most difficult exercise of the synthesis – the what, when, how, where and why of the fact).

Beyond those five lines, newspapers editors should endeavor to concentrate, in a following textual block not larger than 21 lines, the juicy part of the story and then adhere inserts or “technical stops” with a relevant datum, as a way to refresh the text so that the readers take a break and proceed to complete the story, if it was developing interestingly enough for them.

Since now the tendency to read on digital platforms is greater, this technique also works over there. It’s recommended for the newspapers to use their digital editions to provide short news with the basics of the information, on a five-line paragraph format.

These five lines give a general idea of ​​what’s happening and, depending on the amount of gathered interest, it might tease the readers into more reading or lead to them stopping. Digital users prefer to navigate quick and have five-lines stops every so often until they feel like they’ve achieved a broad enough view of the event in question.

If the newspapers continue to produce quality content, written in a simple, fluid and descriptive way that awakens the curiosity of the reader plus making them feel part of the story, we can bet there will always be content consumed to its fullest or at least to its major extent.

Millions of people in the world, from the youngest to the oldest, are users of social media, to which they dictate more hours of attention than they previously offered or would ever offer to written newspapers, back when these were the main source of information.

This implies reading, watching the development of an event through videos or animated illustrations and using the messaging channels to “chat” and share experiences regarding such things, all of which still involves devotion, that is, keeping strong contact with the text, but this time under a new schedule.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.