Instead, he suggests, search engine optimization would be far more useful. It would help link content to an audience, so it would be ultimately more important than understanding intricacies of news agency language and grammar style.
To those who suggest students learn both, Niles correctly points out that the two aren't always compatible. SEO is better with full names and phrasing that often prefers brevity over full-fledged passages.
The post explores one of the tensions in today's newsrooms: How to publish across platforms without reworking content extensively. A newspaper story isn't necessarily SEO-friendly, and the SEO-friendly Web file
Niles notes that algorithms are bending over time to be more reader-friendly, so the notion that it's a matter of writing for machines isn't apt.
Niles is right about another point: There are no SEO textbooks out there. Lots of tips, but no books.