Media Magazine

Redefining “Top News” with a Story That Engages

Posted on the 22 November 2013 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

This is the weekend edition of TheMarioBlog and will be updated as needed. The next blog post is Monday, November 25

TAKEAWAY: Most days, as I read The New York Times, there is that one story that I had not previously heard anything about. In that sense, it is Top News to me, and you’d better believe I look forward to finding it each day.

It is the surprise of the day.

It is the story we don’ necessarily need to read to consider ourselves fully informed before taking off for work.

It is not what one would consider Page One story material ( not by the standards of another era, or the definition of news in Lyle Spencer’s 1917 classic, Newswriting, anyway!)

It is, however, the one story that surprises, engages, adds a layer of information to our news day diet, and, in many cases, the only one with a headline that we had not read before on one of our mobile devices.

It is the piece that was carefully curated to be among Top NewsThe Times editors definitely respect the placement that this story should have. They put it at the end, the last item in the Top News category. That’s OK for me. Whether first or last, that story fits the new definition of news: what we know now, which we did not know 15 minutes ago.

The New York Times has developed the inclusion of this story into an art. If you read the Times tablet edition, it is always the last item under Top News.

But just the fact that these stories appear under Top News says a lot: don’ t miss it, get the highlights of it and discuss it at the office during the morning coffee break, share via social media, and don’t forget to mention that you read it in the Times!

After I read this story, I usually surprise myself getting to the end of the story, usually on a subject that I am not particularly interested in. Yet, the headline entices me, then the writing is usually so good, that it seduces you and you read to the end.

I don’t know about other readers, but, most days, I slide my tablet screen towards the end of the Top News section to see what’s in store, as if Godiva boxes had a hidden compartment with one extra (surprise) bonbon: make mine green tea, tangerine, or just plain surprise me, please.

Recent headlines for this type of story in The Times:

Rhino Horns: a) Increase Potency; b) Cure Cancer; or c) Bring a Prison Term

In a North Face Jacket, a Reversible Appeal


Usually when a brand moves from urban chic to suburban moms, or from elite athletes to everyday wear, it loses some luster. But the North Face seems to have escaped that fate, and is embraced by the city student, the rural rancher and just about everyone in between.


The Syllable Everyone Recognizes

(By the way, it’s “huh”!)

Marrying Companies and Content


Over the years, this content has had an unsavory reputation — most have been infomercials masquerading as editorial content. But the bar has been raised by companies like Red Bull, whose incredibly popular extreme sports videos almost make it seem like a media company that sells beverages on the side.

Big Data’s Little Brother


Start-ups are gathering data and analyzing it much faster than was possible even a couple of years ago, aiming to project economic trends from seemingly unconnected information.

An Accidental Cattle Ranch Points the Way in Sustainable Farming

First paragraph:

PESCADERO, Calif. — When Tom Steyer first learned that his wife, Kat Taylor, wanted to sell beef from the cattle herd on their ranch here, he rolled his eyes.

A Cold War Fought by Women

First paragraph:

How aggressive is the human female? When the anthropologist Sarah B. Hrdy surveyed the research literature three decades ago, she concluded that “the competitive component in the nature of women remains anecdotal, intuitively sensed, but not confirmed by science.

Pages we like

blog post image

Here is a centerpiece story visual that engages and seduces.

The front page of the Minnaeapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

TheMarioBlog post #1384

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