3.4 Time / Space


An alarm clock with a question mark on it

Alarm Clock – CC BY-SA 2.0

Messages must be tailored to meet the time and space constraints imposed by the context within which the message is being created. You cannot explore all information available for every message on every occasion. Deadlines and costs involved in collecting some information force you to make choices about particular angles and information sources.

A long, interpretive news story on which a reporter might work for days must use many information sources. That stands in contrast to a breaking news story about a fire that must be posted immediately to the news website or sent out as a 140-character tweet.

The brand advertising campaign that will run over many months and include ads in several media is likely to rest on a large information base. But one retail ad placed in a local newspaper by the neighborhood shoe store does not require such an extensive information search. You make choices about the management of both time and money based on the time and space constraints of your message task.

Time factors in broadcast news, for example, may be the major information constraints. If you have just 1 minute and 20 seconds to tell a story with words and pictures, you must tailor the information strategy to help in identifying the most efficient sources for telling that story.

Space factors may be the major information constraints for a message that will be delivered on mobile device. The efficient information search is essential to the audience’s expectation of effective storytelling and the media organization’s requirement for economy in producing a message.