Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Advice for And Other Papers:
Treat Your Front Page Like Real Content

Jack Shafer offers great advice: Dynamic front-page presentation. It's a relevant notion tomorrow, of all days.

12 years ago, when I was running's NCAA Tournament coverage, I changed the "top story" on the front page of the site an average of every 6 minutes, from noon until 5, on those first two days of the Tournament -- when the majority of fans were relying on (front page and scoreboard pages) to follow the Tournament from work.

I rewrote the blurb of information that led the site -- over and over -- depending on the developments in the games themselves and how that was impacting the bracket.

It was almost like a live-blog. Or a Twitter stream. The front page of wasn't your gateway to the original content -- the front page itself WAS the original content.

I'm not along in thinking the first two days of the NCAA Tournament are the greatest weekdays of the year. There is nothing like the at-work (or skipping-out-of-work) attention from sports fans, all day long, plus the non-stop action of the games.

-- D.S.

PS: That first round of the '97 Tournament offered the opportunity for the greatest headline ever displayed on, coming just after 15-seed Coppin State upset 2-seed South Carolina:

"Coppin' a Feel: Cocks Get Blocked"

At this point, I'm not even sure if it actually happened or merely ALMOST happened. I could swear I have a print-out of it -- from being live on the site -- in a file somewhere in my house.

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