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Why online stories need a dingbat to mark the end

Have you recently read in The Standard online edition, say on your smartphone, a story whose ending you couldn’t’ tell? Or reading a story in The Star, suddenly bumped into a large, completely unrelated photo, without a clue as to where that story ended?

In the ever so crowded online space, can readers tell anymore where a story ends? Sample these:

The Standard, July 8: “Caroline Kangogo: Puzzle of female officer on the run as police launch nationwide hunt” by Fidelis Kabunyi.

This was the story of last week’s movement of the fugitive officer who reportedly went rogue and who is suspected to have killed two men in Nakuru and Kiambu.

The story traced Kangogo’s movements from Nakuru to Nairobi suburbs, provided relatives’ sentiments, police investigations underway and a sudden halt in the fugitive’s search, following police encounter with a “flamboyant city lawyer who promised” to deliver the fugitive to police.

The paragraph on this concluded, “The lawyer reportedly assured cops that he was in touch with her.”

Then a hyperlink: “Federer’s dream of ninth title in tatters after mauling.”

Huh?

And the paragraph under it said, “Roger Federer’s dream of winning a record-equaling ninth Wimbledon title ended with a heart-breaking….”

While you were still trying to figure out what just happened, another hyperlink: “Police ordered to shoot and kill livestock thieves.”
What in the world is going on? Where did Kangogo’s story go?

The Star, July 10: “Man arrested with 25kgs [sic] of quarry explosives destined for Moyale,” by Cyrus Ombati.

The story recounted how a consignment of explosives usually used to blast stones made its way from Migori, through Nairobi’s Eastleigh, and onto a Moyale-bound bus, where a suspicious driver raised the alarm.

The story pivoted to weeklong tribal clashes in Marsabit town, where locals accused politicians of “being behind the fighting.”

Right after that, a candid photo of a woman making a bed hugged the margins. And a bold caption said: “Maids in Dubai Might Surprise You.”

Say, what? Where did the explosives story and that thing about Marsabit clashes suddenly go?

We think that online layout editors are getting sloppy. Look, if it’s not going to be clear where a story ends because of competing pieces of information in the same space – links to related stories here, floating Mozzartbet adverts there – might we suggest an efficient solution? A dingbat.

In typography, a dingbat – a printer’s ornament, a glyph used in typesetting – effectively and without fanfare, visually announces, The End.

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