Adapting to Your Audience

Three Categories of Audience

Michel Muraski, Journalism and Technical Communication Department
Three categories of audience are the "lay" audience, the "managerial" audience, and the "experts."

The "lay" audience has no special or expert knowledge. They connect with the human interest aspect of articles. They usually need background information; they expect more definition and description; and they may want attractive graphics or visuals.

The "managerial audience may or may not have more knowledge than the lay audience about the subject, but they need knowledge so they can make a decision about the issue. Any background information, facts, or statistics needed to make a decision should be highlighted.

The "experts" may be the most demanding audience in terms of knowledge, presentation, and graphics or visuals. Experts are often "theorists" or "practitioners." For the "expert" audience, document formats are often elaborate and technical, style and vocabulary may be specialized or technical, source citations are reliable and up-to-date, and documentation is accurate.

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