Writing in chunks

This week’s exercises have you looking at examples of online news writing. In one of the exercises, you’re asked, among other things, whether the stories are broken into “chunks.”

What’s a “chunk” you ask? Chunking is an approach to organizing and writing information online to make it more accessible and readable. This approach recognizes that online readers often do not read things in chronological order. Instead, they tend to click around on web sites, targeting whatever looks most relevant and/or interesting.

That’s why online writers try to break stories into stand-along segments, or chunks, that will make sense even if you read them “out of order” or don’t read all of them.

Here are some additional sources of information on chunking and online writing:

The long and short of it

Check out the latest project, 100 Percent SJSU, by Kyle Hansen, the Spartan Daily‘s online editor, and friends. It’s a graphic look at diversity and ethnicity at SJSU…and it’s also a good example of a short-form story alternative (see p. 128-129 in Harrower text) that condenses and graphically displays data to make it more reader friendly.

Click on the icons on the campus map to see pie charts showing the ethnic breakdown of students in each college. Note: in case you’re wondering, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications is part of SJSU’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA), represented by the medical icon.