Local news is about connecting you with your neighborhood, city, county, etc..
It’s about car crashes, crimes, new businesses, schools, events – usually things where place matters. So why is it, most news sites lack maps to show you exactly where the news event took place? After all, isn’t “where?” one of the key questions journalists are supposed to be answering?
In this era of Google Maps, it’s inexcusable that every location-based story doesn’t have a map displaying where the specific item(s) of interest are.
The insanity and poor customer experience of the current primarily text-based model of reporting, really hit home the other day when my wife mentioned we should go see the homes with the award-winning Christmas lights.
“There’s a list of them in the Commercial Appeal,” she mentioned.
“Cool I’ll go ahead and print out the map showing where they’re located,” I responded.
“There’s no map.”
“What do you mean there’s no map? How can there be no map? There must be a map!” I exclaimed. And then I checked, sure enough there was no map – just a list of addresses.
Instead of printing the map or viewing it on my phone, my wife copied the list of addresses and much to my chagrin looked them up on a paper map as opposed to just plugging them into Google Maps.
Talk about zero value add. Heck, instead of bothering to look them up in the Commercial Appeal, I could have just read the list from my weekly email from the city.
Or I could have downloaded a Christmas lights map app for my mobile phone – but I didn’t feel like taking the time nor was I sure they would actually show me any local lights.
Regardless, by next year if the local news organizations don’t provide me a map – I may just turn to a mobile app – and I’ll have one less reason to rely on my local news organizations to help me connect with my local surroundings.
So please, do yourselves a favor and provide your reporters the ability to create and add maps to every story so your audience instantly knows where the event took place.