New format, better methods to improve AWN News
Sun 7 Jan 2018
I've been working over the holidays to improve AWN's News function - the "N" in "AWN". I'd become frustrated during 2017 that news gathering was taking so much time that there was little time left for writing, the main object of the exercise.
When I began writing weather news in the Daily Weather Summary (DWS) back in 1996, the Internet world was much simpler. For my sources I relied on information from friends, the Bureau of Meteorology, and a handful of bulletin boards and weather-related Usenet newsgroups such as sci.geo.meteorology. Apart from one or two pioneering small news sites, media still meant newspapers, radio and TV.
Since then, Internet information has exploded. In third quarter 2017 Facebook had 2.07 billion users globally (17 million in Australia) and Twitter 330 million globally who logged in at least monthly. Social media are especially energised to post or tweet facts, pictures or videos of any spectacular weather events. Among them are thousands of specific weather- and climate-related blogs, forums, Facebook and Twitter sites.
The traditional media produces over 300,000 individual news articles across all subjects in over 70 languages each day around the world - at least that's the number monitored by the European Union's Europe Media Monitor. Despite the monitor's name, it has global coverage, but focuses on the major national and regional traditional media.
The prime reason for news gathering is to get the day's weather news into each day's DWS, which is the long-term archive for weather information on the site. While the figures and charts on each day's DWS are gathered automatically through the day, they do not cover the details of interesting and dramatic events or climate news around the country, much less internationally.
The improvements to AWN's News function include:
- More streamlined news gathering systems
- Shorter, more pithy articles, with links to further information, relevant images and videos.
- Simultaneous publishing of articles on the AWN home page and in the relevant day's DWS.
- Separation of an article's posting date, shown in the green bar on the home page, and the date the event occurred or finished, shown in a new dateline following the article headline.
- More frequent updates to articles if new information becomes available. These will be noted in the article after the dateline, and a link given on the homepage.
As before, I will post articles after an event has effectively finished to allow time to gather reliable information. For information on events that are forecast, or as they happen, I've given links to media I believe are trustworthy and well-organised on this Weather and Climate Media Reports page.
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